Business History – The Monopoly Board Game

Here is an excerpt from the book Game Makers, about the business decisions behind Monopoly.

In accordance with his ninth principle—bet heavily when the odds are long in your favor—George Parker urged (Parker Brothers President Robert) Barton to put all the company's resources behind the Monopoly game and forget making other games. It was better to apply everything Parker Brothers owned to maximize Monopoly shipments given the marketplace's insatiable appetite for the game. He was convinced that every dollar wagered would return a windfall. Unlike his vacillation with Mah-Jongg, this time he would not hesitate and give his opponents a chance to compete. He would redeem himself.

Pouring all your resources into one area of the company is a tough business decision to make. Most people are fairly risk averse, and thus would like to hedge their bets as much as possible. "Don't put all your eggs in one basket," they say. In general that is probably good advice, but while focusing on one thing may be risky, it can also force you to sharpen that area of your business. Sometimes in business, like in life, you need that sharpness – that focus, because otherwise you will spread your resources too thin trying to avoid failure instead of focusing them so that you hit a home run. It's a tough decision to make, but the Parker Bros. story shows just how successful it can be if you make the right decision.

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