Why You Should Beg for Forgiveness Rather Than Ask for Permission


I love documentaries because I get to relax and watch TV without wasting my time; I get to learn something. So a few days ago, I was watching Bloomberg’s documentary on the creator of the first internet browser, Marc Andreessen. (If you have some time and are interested in business, watch Bloomberg’s Game Changers series.) I have never heard of Marc before, but I have heard of his creation: Netscape. At the beginning of the internet popularity, everyone was using Netscape’s browser. Then all of a sudden, it fell off the face of the earth. I have always wondered, “What happened?”

As I watched the documentary, Marc’s life began to unfold. Here is this precocious kid, who was programming since his early childhood. He did great things in college and then gone out to do even greater things in after college. It was a bit predictable and even a bit boring. But what really caught my attention was the browser wars between Microsoft’s Internet Explorer and Netscape’s Navigator …

How Microsoft Totally Destroyed Netscape

In the early to mid 1990’s, Netscape Navigator was pretty much the only internet browser and was selling extremely well. In the first quarter of 1995, it made $5 million in sales. In the second quarter, it made $12 million in sales. Microsoft saw the growth in Netscape and wanted a dominant share of the internet browser pie. At the time, Apple really sucked and no one was using its computers. Everyone had PCs (personal computers), and they all ran Windows. Needless to say, at that time, Microsoft Windows was the dominant operating system. Microsoft was in a position of power. And with that power, it completely crushed Netscape.

Microsoft bundled Internet Explorer with its new operating system, Windows 95. And eventually, almost everyone had an internet browser. Why buy from Netscape when you have a browser already? With that power play, Microsoft completely won the browser war. Netscape could not compete and eventually merged with AOL.

It wasn’t exactly smooth sailing for Microsoft. In 1998, the US sued Microsoft in a civil, anti-trust suit. They eventually settled a few years later. The settlement was pretty much a slap on the wrist. It is a very small price to pay for winning the browser war.

I bring up this case to prove that if you want to get ahead, if you want to win, beg for forgiveness rather than ask for permission. Microsoft did not ask the court if it was ok to bundle IE with Windows 95. Microsoft assumed it was ok. Even during the anti-trust lawsuit, Microsoft was still bundling IE with Windows. It was not going to stop unless the court specifically forbade the bundling.  In the end, the results of the settlement allowed Microsoft to continue bundling.

A Quick Peek at My Self-Sustainable Business

Personally, I adopt this into all aspects of my life. I hate asking for permission for anything.

  • Raise my hand to ask if I may go to the bathroom? Screw that!
  • Timidly peak in front of the boss’ door and ask for permission to go home? No!
  • Ask a “teacher” if I am smart enough or qualified enough to succeed? Get out of here!

I will take action and I will deal with the consequences. If someone wants to go out of their way to stop me, they can do so. But I will not be my own obstacle.

I am going to end this article with a little teaser about myself. A little more than a year ago, I started tinkering around with a website. I just wanted to write about my experience in medical school, and turn my writing into a guide for getting into and surviving medical school. No one gave me any permission to do such a thing. I didn’t even know what I was doing. And yet, I persisted. This little decision to take action led to so many wonderful things:

  • I communicated with so many cool people.
  • I got so many free things.
  • I made money on auto-pilot.
  • And more.

Would you like to hear more about it?  Would you like me to teach you how to become the go-to expert for a niche? Would you like me to teach you how to make money?

If your answered yes to any of the questions, stay tuned! And send me a comment on what you would like to learn.

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  1. Brother bring it on! Lets hear it! I’m always ready to read about new ideas!

    • Alex Ding says:


      I’m going to unleash a wave of new ideas. If you pay attention to what I have to say, I guarantee you’ll be transformed — better, wiser, and more powerful.


  1. […] The issue with me is that I am not very good at following authority. I like to push my boundaries. I don’t ask for permission, I ask for forgiveness. Scratch that. I don’t ask for forgiveness. Instead, I argue why I am right. I wasn’t […]

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