Learn to shift: Lessons from Nintendo

I recently learned that Nintendo — you remember Nintendo, right? Super Mario Brothers? Duck Hunt? Up, up, down, down, left, right, left, right, B, A, Start? — was founded in 1889.

I’m pretty sure the Wii Fit wasn’t in the original business plan.

They started out making hanafuda cards — playing cards for a traditional Japanese game.

As the game declined in popularity by the 1950s and 1960s, they pivoted.

They tried taxicabs, but got buried by unions. They tried “love hotels” — you know, the sort of place you rent by the hour for a tryst. They tried toys, like the Ultra Hand. They then worked their way into early handheld consoles and eventually video games and full consoles.

In a world with shifting priorities and capabilities, the need to pivot is coming more frequently, for businesses both small and large. And, if we’re honest, for employees and would-be employees as well.


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