Remember Gradius 3? I mean literally. Do you remember every detail of Gradius 3? If you don't, that's what it took to beat the game for NES. You had to memorize each level so that you could avoid late game traps that would keep you from reaching the final boss. While it was often fun to start playing Gradius, many players soon grew tired of the monotony. Unlike what we see so much of in the business world, Gradius never changed.
You may remember that in Super Mario Bros., there are a few hidden areas in the game that let you catch a ride to a later level. They are called warp zones. In total, there are three: one located in World 1-2 and two in World 4-2. The first warp zone gives you the choice to jump to World 2, World 3 or World 4. In World 4-2, reaching the zone behind the final pipe (before the flagpole) leads to World 5. If you are lucky, you can find a secret beanstalk that leads you to a warp zone for World 6, World 7 or World 8. What does this have to do with managing a business?
I'm part of the millennial generation, and here's how I know. My first opportunity to use a computer came in first grade, and ever since then, I've had a keyboard sitting at the end of my fingertips. For a number of my childhood years, a video game controller was also at my finger tips. While I've since retired my gaming days, I still think back on the memories that my brothers and I created playing NES games. It was honest fun. Sometimes it got us in trouble, but we liked it.
Today, I'm no good at NES games. I've followed other pursuits, including working to get my MBA over the past two years. Coincidentally, there were times when I would realize that a lesson from the readings sounded familiar, a little too familiar. Today, I'm happy to announce that I'm launching a new blog series called the NES MBA, where I highlight some of the MBA insights I've gleaned over the past two years and connect them with a scene, quote, story, or image from a NES game.