Imagine your company, today a household name, was down to its last $5000 in the bank facing a $24,000 bill. If the bill didn’t get paid it would have been the end of the company. So the CEO flew to Las Vegas with the last $5000 and put it down on the Blackjack table, winning $27,000 and saving the company. Sounds like a work of fiction, right? It’s not- it actually happened to FedEx in 1971.

Sometimes you have to take risks in order to get ahead. Complacency works sometimes for some people, but you’ll never become a household name like FedEx if you aren’t willing to risk it all. But sometimes those gambles end in a bust, as Ted Turner discovered in 1999 when Time Warner merged with AOL in a $350 billion stock deal. By 2002 AOL/Time Warner posted the largest annual loss in history at $98.7 billion. Turner himself lost his job and $7 billion!

But there are enough stories out there of people who said “what the heck” and went for it, making it big. Oren Peli invested $15,000 in Paranormal Activity, completing the movie in just a few short weeks. The movie went on to gross $193 million, making it the most profitable movie of all time. In an even greater twist of fate, Steven Spielberg suggested a tweak to the ending that opened the door for sequels.

Evan Spiegel turned down a $3 billion offer to buy Snapchat in 2013 and its valuation grew to $19 billion by mid 2015. You have to know when to hold ‘em and when to fold ‘em. Learn more about historic business gambles that have gone boom or bust from this infographic. You might be surprised to learn some of the crazy stories behind companies you do business with every day!

Beating The Odds – Step 1: Show Up

Beating The Odds - Step 1 Show Up Infographic

Infographic source: Casino Online