Chapter 8Making Better Decisions: Emotionally

We simply attempt to be fearful when others are greedy and to be greedy only when others are fearful.


Trusting Your Instincts

It was December 13, 1961. Mike Smith and Dick Rowe were executives in charge of evaluating new talent for the London office of Decca Records. Mike Smith had traveled up to Liverpool to watch a local rock-and-roll band perform. After hearing them, he decided that the band had talent and invited them down to London to audition on New Year's Day, January 1, 1962.

The band made the trip down to London and spent two hours playing 15 different songs at the Decca studios. They then packed up, went home, and waited for an answer.

They waited for weeks.

And waited.

Not willing to wait any longer, the band's manager called Mike Smith and asked him what was happening.

“Not to mince words, Mr. Epstein, but we don't like your boys' sound. Groups are out; four-piece groups with guitars particularly are finished.”

Decca's rejection of The Beatles made it to the top (or near top) spot on several lists of the worst business decisions of the twentieth century and the second worst business decision of all time by Forbes magazine.1

How could this have happened? I've been intrigued by this mishap for quite some time and through my work in the music industry, including volunteer training for early career musicians and musician managers through a nonprofit organization called Canada's Music Incubator (CMI), I've ...

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