Disrupting the Game: From the Bronx to the Top of Nintendo
I am fortunate to have lived my life at the intersection of capability and opportunity. This is an adaptation of the Roman philosopher Seneca’s definition of luck: “a matter of preparation meeting opportunity.”
But I wasn’t lucky.
I started life as the child of Haitian immigrants and initially lived in a Bronx tenement. Through academic merit, I was able to attend Cornell University on scholarship. I was fortunate to have some excellent jobs and bosses early in my career, and I also had some that were far from excellent. I became president of Nintendo of America and succeeded in that role not through luck but by always making the most of every opportunity.
I was driven to learn by engaging in new experiences and by having an insatiable curiosity. I asked countless questions; I wanted to know stuff, and not just stuff in a narrow field of interest. It wasn’t just knowledge for knowledge’s sake, but knowledge that I was able to use as a leader and a disrupter. Knowledge helped me come up with innovative solutions to problems that initially appeared unsolvable.
Opportunity came when I saw the potential to achieve in ways that others didn’t immediately see. This led me to often choose untraditional paths that ran counter to expectations.
As I progressed in my life and career, I began to group my thinking into core lessons that I valued. For me, these lessons provided a foundation for how to approach a problem or a decision. Shaped by my experience and learning offered by others, they provided a shortcut to help me move forward. Applying these lessons helped keep me and the companies I worked for from making one-off decisions that wouldn’t stand the test of time.
In sharing stories from my life and the lessons I learned along the way, I hope to help you add to your own capability. And I hope to challenge you to leap at the opportunities you create, or that are presented to you.
I will present these lessons as “So What”—as in, “so what does this mean and why does this matter?” These are interspersed within my stories, driving home my lessons and giving you actionable advice as you go on your own journey.
- Title Page
- 1. Farewell to My Friend
- 2. Dictators, Delinquents, and Blood
- 3. Getting Above Cayuga’s Waters
- 4. A Brand-New Manager
- 5. Almost Killing a Brand
- 6. Being Too Positive
- 7. Behind the Music
- 8. Nintendo Comes Calling
- 9. Kyoto Craftsmanship
- 10. Kicking Ass and Taking Names
- 11. Driving a Vision
- 12. Internal Disruption
- 13. Courageous Decisions
- 14. Pivoting to a Solution
- 15. Switching Things Up
- 16. The Next Generation
- About the Author
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|Epub||May 13, 2022|