5 Worst Business Decisions Ever Made

Businesses are usually associated with superior decision making and they manage to achieve that in most situations. However, even businesses are run by humans and can be prone to bad decision making. A number of these bad decisions are due to lack of vision. Here’s a quick overview of the 5 worst business decisions in the corporate world.

Describing Telephone as a toy – In nineteenth century, Western Union was the leader in telegraph communications. When Alexander Graham Bell invented the telephone, the patent for the same was offered to Western Union for $100,000. However, the deal was refused by William Orton, who was the president of Western Union at that time. For Orton, the telephone invention was no better than a toy. He could not envision how the telephone could revolutionize communications. Bell later launched his own company and telephone use became widely popular.

Ignoring The Beatles – Most artists go through a struggle phase before they gain recognition and become a success. The same was the situation with The Beatles in their initial career. In 1962, Decca Records had called The Beatles for an audition. Post the audition, the company had rejected them. Later, The Beatles joined hands with EMI, which was a relatively small record company at that time. As The Beatles emerged bestselling band, EMI records also made its fortune.

Kodak avoiding digital tech – Kodak was once the leader in photography products and had even developed the first self-contained digital camera. However, it did not give a strong push towards digital products. This gave the advantage to rivals like Sony and Fuji. As revenues continued to dip, the company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2012. That Kodak had huge potential can be gauged from the fact that it had sold its patents for around USD 525 million. The buyers included leading names like Google, Amazon, Apple, Microsoft, Adobe, Samsung and Facebook.

Selling Instagram cheap – USD 1 billion is no small amount. But it seems miniscule when compared to Instagram’s current valuation. Facebook had acquired Instagram in 2012 for USD 1 billion, after doubling the $500 million offer made by Twitter. The level of interest shown by two leading tech giants was itself an indication of Instagram’s worth. But as the company was struggling at that time and not making any money, the $1 billion offer seemed more than enough. It was sold cheap, when compared to its current valuation for more than $200 billion.

Rejecting Google for less than a million – Google’s story is somewhat similar to others in this list. Back in 1999, Google was offered to Excite.com CEO George Bell at a relatively small amount of $750,000. However, George Bell refused the deal, as he could not assess its potential. It can be described as one of the costliest business decisions, as Google is now valued at more than trillion dollars.

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