Alcoholics Anonymous has used that principle as a starting point to reclaim thousands and thousands of lives. Thousands more are never reclaimed because it’s so hard to change.

Sheer stubbornness has destroyed a lot more bottom lines than new technologies. There were just as many mean spirited jibes at Coca-Cola for abandoning its original formula as there were at Ford when it unveiled the Edsel. The difference was that Ford decided it was going to prove the marketplace was wrong and stuck with its mistake far too long. Coca-Cola realized early that while humiliation was inescapable, horrendous losses need not be. It cut its losses, and its mistake cost it a lot less money than stubborn pride cost Ford.

Campbell’s spent years developing a new offering in what’s called the “functional food” category. Named Joshi describes it as “a frozen food line that would help older Americans” needing to modify their diets. It had “great endorsements from the medical fraternity; many trials… and yet it bombed due to poor taste.” Campbell’s acted quickly and regrouped.

Product withdrawals these days don’t have to be just timely. Sometimes they are real time. Bill Gates was demonstrating the introduction of an improved Windows 98 program in front of a slew of journalists and live TV cameras. As the demonstrator touted the program’s virtues, Windows crashed in front of God… and Gates! On the monitor appeared the infamous “blue screen of death” and its white-typed error message. The ever quick-witted Bill intervened in a nanosecond with: “That must be why we’re not shipping Windows 98 yet.”

One thing professional stock and commodity traders learn early is that they don’t give away medals for courage in the marketplace. There is only one reward the marketplace has to offer: money.

If you’re not making any, bail out. Quickly.


Excerpted from Swim With The Sharks Without Being Eaten Alive

About the author Harvey Mackay

Seven-time, New York Times best-selling author of "Swim With The Sharks Without Being Eaten Alive," with two books among the top 15 inspirational business books of all time, according to the New York Times. He is one of America’s most popular and entertaining business speakers, and currently serves as Chairman at the MackayMitchell Envelope Company, one of the nation’s major envelope manufacturers, producing 25 million envelopes a day.

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