The rare ability to draw back from one’s circumstance and view it at arm’s length, as a stranger might view things, is a valuable skill indeed …

Vitaliy N. Katsenelson. Active Value Investing: Making Money in Range-Bound Markets (Wiley Finance) (p. 219). Kindle Edition.

The rare ability to draw back from one’s circumstance and view it at arm’s length, as a stranger might view things, is a valuable skill indeed.

A famous example from the mid-1980s was Intel facing new competition from Japan, commoditized memory chips-Intel’s bread and butter at the time. This new factor sent Intel from making $198 million in 1984 to making a mere $2 million in 1985. Andy Grove, CEO of Intel, agonized for weeks over the dilemma of what to do, as he recounted in Only the Paranoid Survive (Doubleday Currency, 1996):

I looked out the window at the Ferris wheel of the Great America amusement park revolving in the distance when I turned back to Gordon [Moore-Intel’s founder], and I asked, “If we got kicked out and the board brought in a new CEO, what do you think he would do?” Gordon answered without hesitation, “He would get us out of memories.” I stared at him, numb, then said, “Why shouldn’t you and I walk out the door, come back, and do it ourselves?”

Intel refocused its efforts on microprocessors and became one of the most profitable companies in the world, with sales approaching $40 billion and net income exceeding $8 billion in 2005.

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