On my vacation, when I wasn't looking at this, I was playing Monopoly on the dock with my family. It is a game that most of you are familiar with. My children, from the time they turned 5, have enjoyed playing and have learned how to beat me on a consistent basis! The game offers us a glimpse of what life is really like - asset management, cash flow, unforeseen elements affecting our future, and, sometimes, things even result in jail time!
Monopoly was created in the early 1930s by Charles Darrow. He was a struggling water heater salesperson and inventor, who had more time on his hands than he had planned due to the Great Depression. Rather than wallow in pity over his circumstances, he worked on updating an old game that he remembered playing as a child. He added some new elements, and started inviting his neighbours over for dessert and entertainment. His game was addictive, others also had time on their hands and, before he knew it, he was selling hundreds of his board games for $4 each.
Eventually Charles became a millionaire, by selling the rights to his game to Parker Brothers - known around the world as Monopoly. It is the world's best selling board game, with over 200 million copies sold.
There is a now a debit edition of the game in which there is no paper money, new game pieces have been introduced (such as a cell phone), and property taxes were raised (so those in Toronto will not to feel as bad). At first, I reacted negatively. Why are THEY changing it? Will we have to "lay off" the banker? It was great the WAY it was.
As I thought about my internal dialogue, I realized how much this might resonate with others in regard to their career struggles, such as changes related to their position or in their industry. Often we notice changes, but think they will not affect us, such as the CEO at RIM who said; "The iPhone is just a toy". Funny - Apple & Android vendors can't keep their phones in stock. Some companies embrace change, while the executives at RIM were hoping change would be a "fad". RIM investors have lost billions of dollars & thousands of employees have been laid off, as a result of a few leaders resisting change.
More than $183 billion in debit transactions occurred this past year in Canada. Parker Brother's recognized this as a trend. Cash is going the way of the Blackberry - we know it, and Parker knows it as well. By keeping the Monopoly brand culturally relevant, they will ultimately sell another 200 million games & keep employing great people to help grow the value of their company.
The legacy of Charles Darrow was to embrace change & find opportunity in challenging times, will you?
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