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Disrupting the Game

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Disrupting the Game

From the Bronx to the Top of Nintendo

HarperCollins Leadership,

15 min read
8 take-aways
Audio & text

What's inside?

Sometimes pushing back against a boss – even one you respect and admire –  is the right move.

Editorial Rating



  • Concrete Examples
  • Engaging
  • Insider's Take


In this insider’s take about the launch of the Wii gaming console, Reggie Fils-Aimé, the CEO of Nintendo in America, describes how he navigated both cultural issues and business challenges. Writing in a breezy style, Fils-Aimé takes readers inside his interactions with Nintendo’s Japanese executives. He distills a variety of pivotal experiences into simple rules of business and life. While he doesn’t dwell on soul-baring moments, Fils-Aimé does offer a detailed description of his relationship with his boss. Gamers will enjoy his recollections of the launch of the groundbreaking Wii, but Fils-Aimé keeps his business lessons general enough to apply to any industry.


Sometimes you have to stand your ground – even when your boss disagrees.

Reggie Fils-Aimé was instrumental in Nintendo’s US launch of the Wii Remote. The product was noteworthy for its motion-sensing technology. Fils-Aimé worked with Leo Burnett, a New York ad agency, to design an advertising campaign that featured two Japanese businessmen touring the United States to show the new device to American consumers.

Fils-Aimé felt certain the ads would be a hit, but shortly before they began airing, his boss – Nintendo president Satoru Iwata – called from Japan at the last moment to say the ads had to be changed. In Japan, Iwata said, executives would never interact as casually with customers as the people depicted in the ad. Fils-Aimé pushed back, but his boss initially stood his ground. Fils-Aimé insisted that Westerners have a much different view of social interactions. His boss relented, and the ads and the product were a hit.

As a leader who prided himself on disruption and innovation, Fils-Aimé repeatedly butted heads with his bosses and with entrenched ways of doing business. The Wii launch press conference...

About the Author

Award-winning innovator Reggie Fils-Aimé served from 2006-2019 as president and chief operating officer of Nintendo of America, the largest division of the Japanese entertainment company.

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    D. W. 2 years ago
    “To me, building personal relationships is an important foundation for having strong business relationships.” I absolutely agree with this statement.
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    N. N. 2 years ago
    Awesome summary