How to get through to decision makers?


There are a few software titles (all games) that have been officially retired and are no longer supported.

I have designed a business model for recovering these end of lifed titles, but am having an awefully difficult time getting through to anyone at the companies who own these titles.

I've emailed and called directly numerious times and through numerous contacts. I always end up getting the run-around through gate-keepers (typically bottom level tech support) who don't know what to do with me or my request.

Does anyone have ideas or can share their experiences in getting through to the decision makers at a company who can hear out my proposal to buy? I've got legitimate proposals with fairly good offerings for compensation.


asked Jul 27 '11 at 09:06
234 points

4 Answers


You need someone who is very well connected to the industry to help. Calling the main number isn't going to get very far. A vital part of your business plan is having access to the people you can make deals with. Maybe you need a partner with extensive industry experience who knows people inside every company?

I worked at Viacom in the mid-1990s when they had a large video game division called Viacom New Media, with a strategy very similar to the strategy you're describing... looking for fun, simple games that were considered obsolete, and trying to bring them back after they had been abandoned for dead. This division had a huge budget and lots of experienced business development executives, but the business plan didn't really go anywhere and Viacom New Media was shut down. This is not to say that it wouldn't work today. They hired a veteran of the video game industry with incredible industry connections who knew everybody to serve as their business development executive and try to make the kind of deals you'd like to make.

answered Jul 27 '11 at 13:32
Joel Spolsky
13,482 points
  • I appreciate the feedback, but what you're suggesting doesn't really sound viable. My approach is extremely different to what you described of Viacom New Media, and I'd go out on a limb to say that they got lucky to know someone with connections inside of "all" companies. That being said, maybe I can wiggle my way in through the back door with past employees to can leap-frog me back to someone still there... – Patrickgamer 12 years ago
  • Most industries are actually pretty tight-knit. People with 10+ years of experience in the industry tend to be at most one degree of separation away from anyone worth meeting. – Joel Spolsky 12 years ago


Find someone in product management. Call the main number and ask to speak to a product manager. Their performance is often measured based on revenue they generate. They might be willing to work with you to squeeze some cash out of a product that is past its end of life.

answered Jul 27 '11 at 09:41
Jim Blizard
324 points
  • I've tried this. There is no "main number". The only phone number I could find was their support line (a dead end) and an office front desk (which reroutes to the support line). – Patrickgamer 12 years ago


Go to a company headquarters and speak to somebody there. It will take some time and you may have to make multiple visits but eventually you will reach the right person. If You do not have contacts inside the business you have to build up your own.

answered Jul 27 '11 at 20:40
150 points
  • I've considered doing this, but in my specific situation, the issue is that there are several offices spread out across the USA and Asia and I have no idea where to start (and can't afford to fly around to 6 different cities). – Patrickgamer 12 years ago


Maybe you could start a website for people interested in play again defunct games they suggest and vote. Then you can show that potential identified customers exists for you business.

In other words, first make the community and gain visibility as the expert site on defunct games (or other software, why not?).

My vote (and money) will be for "Super EF-2000", an excellent combat flight sim (which is uncontrolable in the current fast hardware, so an upgrade is needed and could run on less powerful hardware like phones or pads).

answered Jul 29 '11 at 16:06
Nestor Sanchez A
690 points

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