"Crazy Persistence:" How Tetris Founder Made a Small Idea Pay Off Big Time

written by Jen S. McCabe on September 25, 2009 in Cloud and Interviews with one Comment
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We’ve been hyper-focused on the cloud and mobile apps lately, ramping up for Under the Radar in November. To celebrate TGIF, let’s geek out today on gaming and learn some lessons about entrepreneurship.

Even the smallest products sometimes have fascinating success stories filled with drama, international escapades, and near misses. Or at least the story of Tetris does…

Have you ever believed in a concept so much you’d travel halfway around the globe to make it into a viable product?

If the answer is yes, consider how obsessed with an idea you’d have to be to do that for SOMEONE ELSE’S concept…

Our buddy Andrew Warner of Mixergy recently interviewed the fascinating guy who brought us all Tetris, the addictive spatial relations game designed by Alexey Pajitnov in 1984.

The original Tetris puzzle's come a long way

The original Tetris puzzle

Tons of people wanted the game, but Henk Rogers, a game designer, packed a bag and showed up in the former Soviet Union uninvited.

Then he convinced Nintendo’s CEO to meet with him by saying he could create a Go game for the Nintendo machine (Henk’s wife read the CEO was a Go fan). Persistence won again: Nintendo licensed the game.

Here’s a tasty excerpt from Andrew’s interview:

Henk didn’t invent Tetris, but he’s the entrepreneur who went into the Soviet Union to win the rights to the game, and he’s the man who made it a world-wide phenomenon that’s still going strong, even though the game was invented back in 1984.”

For more, click here to have a listen (audio file of the entire interview).

About Andrew Warner: Andrew is an entrepreneur and the brain behind Mixergy. He continues to nab terrific interviews with some of the best entrepreneurial minds and success stories out there – and asks them very pointed questions about how they did what they did so people like you and I can learn from others’ experiences.