There’s an old saying “The early bird gets the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese.”
For each colossally effective startup you can name, there’s been somebody who attempted to do it before and fizzled. Here and there they fizzled naturally, however frequently they fizzled in light of the fact that they were just too soon. They had everything except for the business simply wasn’t prepared.
Imagine the frustration of these businesses as they watch others make billions from an idea or product they had. Before you rush to market, take a look at what happened to these 5 startups that failed and learn from their stories:
SixDegrees.com was the first online informal community, which was based on the “six degrees of Kevin Bacon” and how each of us are less than six degrees of separation away from everyone else on Earth. It had high development from its beginning in 1997, but individuals apparently weren’t ready to use the web as an informal community yet.
This search engine had many of the same qualities that made Google so successful. Remember AskJeeves? Everyone loved it… for about a year.
It included many of the strategies that Google used later on, such as semantic inquiry (understanding characteristic dialect inquiries) and positioning pages by hyperlinks.
What went wrong? The technology wasn’t quite polished, so users began to look elsewhere for their search results.
Webvan was an early provider of sundry item deliveries and committed one of the cardinal startup sins of overspending before they had established themselves. They burned through a billion dollars purchasing distribution centers and SUN servers before they had a regular customer base. Now, the online home goods delivery market is a lucrative enterprise for latecomers like FreshDirect.
Another startup that had a great idea but terrible timing. The pet supplies market is a multibillion dollar industry today, but starting out at the peak of the dotcom bubble doomed Pets.com to failure. By the time they were ready to hit the market, investors were already scrambling for the exits as the bubble collapsed.
Dodgeball was developing a way to share personal updates (aka news feeds) before individuals thought about that stuff.
Dennis Crowley’s organization was hampered by two things: no iPhone and no Facebook. No iPhone meant that all of the updates would need to be sent through instant messages, which weren’t very user-friendly. Before Facebook came along, most people weren’t accustomed to or expected to receive regular updates on what their friends were up to.
Dodgeball was renamed Foursquare and has since become a huge success. It’s the proof that a simple name can do all the difference in business.
These 5 startups beat everyone else to the market but still came up short for different reasons. Maybe it was due to poor management decisions, maybe they simply targeted the wrong market, or the supporting technology hadn’t been developed or adopted by enough people. Learn from their mistakes or you may wind up watching newcomers pass you by on their way to success.
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