The Worst Business Decisions of All Time

Published on 04/17/2015

When we look back at the greatest business blunders of all time we have hindsight on our side. We don’t have to worry about making the tough decision, we can instead merely point and laugh at the wrong ones. Some of these business decisions exist before online stock trading and options trading was even a thing. Some of these occurred in the past ten years. Either way, strap in and read about the 10 biggest business blunders of all time.

The Mars Company passes up on ‘E.T.’ film endorsement.

Candy is pretty much as big a staple to the movie theater experience as popcorn is. back in 1981 a little known film was set to release, via Amblin Productions, by the name of ‘E.T.’. Yeah, the Steven Spielberg classic that went on to become the most beloved film in the history of cinema. That one. Amblin Productions tried to talk the Mars Company into letting ‘E.T.’ feature M&Ms in the film. The Mars Company shook their head and said no. Nobody knows why. Hershey stepped up to the plate and let their Reeses Pieces product get featured instead. Immediately following the release of the film Hershey saw a 65% spike in sales. Those who were smart latched on to the company, though many people undoubtedly missed out due to the lack of online investing at the time. Obviously M&Ms haven’t gone anywhere, but the added boost of sales could have been huge for the company.


Edwin Drake doesn’t patent his oil drill.

Edwin Drake may not be a name in everyone’s history book, but there was a period of time back in 1858 when he might have been on the verge of becoming one of the wealthiest men in America. Stationed out in Pennsylvania, Drake wanted to find a way to get to the oil that was so close yet so far away. Partnering with a blacksmith from the area, Drake and the man helped to build a drill. The two worked on the design for weeks until they finally found their way to that black, beautiful gold. Despite his success with the drill Drake was fired and before long penniless after losing his money on Wall Street. If Drake had an online broker at the time, he would have been able to make a killing with is product. Yet that didn’t happen. Failing to secure the patent on his drill has cost him, and his family after, untold millions of dollars. Truly one of the biggest ‘what if’s’ in business history.