“There are risks and costs to action. But they are far less than the long-range risks of inaction.” — John F Kennedy
In the year 2000, Blockbuster was a shiny, confident business. At its peak in November 2004, the video-rental giant employed 84,300 people across more than 9,000 stores worldwide. But back in the year 2000, two scrappy entrepreneurs came hat in hand to Blockbuster CEO John Antioco and offered him the sale of their burgeoning three-year-old business, Netflix. The asking price? A cool $50 million.
They were turned down. Blockbuster was content with how people procured content for their home entertainment pleasure. Streaming was hardly feasible nor widespread; Netflix knew that the internet was the future of their business but Blockbuster saw things differently. They were safe. They had a good thing going. And they saw little reason to risk US$50 million on an online business (albeit one with potential and vision), much less during the tail end of the dot-com bubble.
You know how this turned out. Netflix today is worth US$30 billion. Last year, they won an Oscar and raked in $16 billion in revenue. Just think: Blockbuster could have bought them for 1/2600th of what it is worth today. Instead, they passed on the opportunity for change and chose to stay still. In 2010, a mere ten years after that meeting, they filed for bankruptcy.
Whether it’s with risks or exercising, the price of inaction can be too high. If you’re feeling the need to move out of your comfort zone, here’s to finding the courage to boogie.