Windows To The World

Make Big Bets

Put your top minds, money and efforts behind the projects critical to the business. Focus on doing those few things well. Scattering your efforts on a bunch of smaller efforts may not leave any one of them with enough resources and momentum to really succeed.

In the early 1990s, Microsoft focused millions of dollars and some of its most talented programmers on the creation of Word and Excel for the Windows platform . . . before Windows was at all popular. Taking money and top programmers away from the current Word and Excel products was a major risk. At that time, WordPerfect and Lotus dominated their respective huge markets. Betting on a new operating system would leave Microsoft even further behind in those critical businesses if the new system did poorly. "If Windows had failed, there'd be no Microsoft today," one manager posits. "That was a pretty big bet."

From All I Really Need to Know in Business I Learned at Microsoft by Julie Bick. Copyright© 1997 Julie Bick. Reprinted by permission of Pocket Books, a division of Simon & Schuster Inc.

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This article was originally published in the June 1998 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Windows To The World.

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