The "wow sign", for me, is this:
The early TSR management consisted almost entirely of hardcore gamers who loved
tournaments for their own sake and insisted that they be part of every
convention TSR sponsored or participated in. So despite the fact that
tournaments appealed to a very small percentage of D&D players, and
designing for and managing tournaments drained development resources that could
have been spent on publishing more or better products, we did lots of them.
Got that? "Our customers didn't like these things, but many of our employees did, so they were a priority".
And if you've ever wondered why I frequently tag industry posts as "so-called industry", now you know. At multiple levels companies this business are not run like, you know, businesses.
And honestly, the bigger the company, the more true that is.
TSR (and to a slightly lesser extent Wizards) are almost TOO big.
By which I mean, they sometimes seem to think (I feel because they're so dominant in the RPG field) that they need to move BEYOND it.
Like how, instead of figuring out how to grow D&D's audience even more, TSR spent resources on getting a crappy Saturday-morning cartoon on the air perhaps?