Blockbuster, Borders, and Sears are just a few corporate giants who have fallen. Titanic companies who don’t veer ahead of time from their own icebergs sink quickly. Blockbuster had the chance to buy Netflix (a $32.9 billion market valuation in 2015) for only 50 million dollars.¹ Had they have taken Netflix up on the offer they would probably still be in business today. Borders lost sight of where the market was going, becoming late in the game with internet sales and not investing enough or soon enough in tablets like Amazon and Barnes and Noble had.² Sears filed Chapter 11 Bankruptcy after failing to lure online shoppers to their store or building a competitive online presence.³
“Giants are not what we think they are. The same qualities that appear to give them strength are often the sources of greatest weakness. And the fact of being an underdog can change people in ways that we often fail to appreciate: it can open doors and create opportunities and educate and enlighten and make possible what might otherwise have seemed unthinkable.”4
This quote about Giants, taken from this week’s book of the week David and Goliath by Malcolm Gladwell, reminds us of the power of being a David. We read about and invest in fortune 500 companies, because of their so-called “stability” yet are sometimes blindsided when a company like Sears files chapter 11. What makes them stable also makes them resistant to change at times, and when markets change and companies don’t move with it they sink. This is an example of their strength also being a weakness.
Yesterday my wife and I went to the Mercantile in Pawhuska, Oklahoma for the first time. A restaurant and tourist hangout, it is most notably known because of its owner, Ree Drummond, or better known as The Pioneer Woman. The humble town of Pawhuska is now notably changed by this blogger turned Food Network star. I walked by a couple of cars on the way to the restaurant, license plates from Arizona and Canada sat outside, which had only one reason I was sure for visiting the small town of Pawhuska. To give you an idea of its size, my hometown of Broken Arrow (over 100,000 people) is around 32 times it’s size. Who would have guessed that a blog from Pawhuska would grow in size to draw people from all over the world?
“We spend a lot of time thinking about the ways that prestige and resources and belonging to elite institutions make us better off. We don’t spend enough time thinking about the ways in which those kinds of material advantages limit our options.”5
The next time you start having doubts or start to feel that you are not good enough, remember the strength you possess in being a David. Remember how you have the power within you to take the first step toward your greatness. With faith, hard work, and a little creative thinking, the Goliaths don’t stand a chance.
Vigilant Poster Girl
- Business Insider article Blockbuster CEO once passed up a chance to buy Netflix for only $50 million
- Time article 5 Reasons Borders Went Out of Business
- The New York Time article Sears, the Original Everything Store, Files for Bankruptcy
- David and Goliath by Malcolm Gladwell Pg 6
- David and Goliath by Malcolm Gladwell Pg 36