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While you can make parallels in how they were/are dedicated to their brands and improved on the mistakes of past leaders, Satoru Iwata was more than a professional in the field of video games. He was also a very lovable, charismatic man who did the following rare things:

  • Took the blame for poor sales of the WiiU and also a massive pay cut, this while president of the company
  • Initiated interviews with 3rd party developers, building bridges with these people, these artists, with Iwata Asks, shedding this presidential aura (esp. in Japan) and humbled himself to talk directly to devs in friendly, casual meetings.
  • Was courageous enough to be fun and childlike in his Nintendo Directs (which he also initiated), doing things like holding up a Donkey Kong banana and other light-hearted fun jokes
  • He continued to work in complete dedication until the very end, his death
  • He initiated the Quality of Life program at Nintendo, a program intended to improve the health and lives of people through the medium of video games.


While I see the parallels, there are very few leaders like Satoru Iwata, and we were fortunate to have him. I would not compare Mark Cerny to Iwata, as effective as Cerny may be in his management of Sony. Iwata was something else, that we can compare few people to.