Ideas are like magic. Either they work or they just fizzle out and die. The same concept works with startups as well. While some startups with supremely crazy ideas boom and leave you wondering about how that happened, others which should have succeeded, failed miserably. Today, instead of looking at the successful startups, here is taking a look at the ones which should have succeeded, but didn’t:
Touted to be one of the first social media websites in the World, Friendster failed to take off as well as Facebook. Founded in the year 2002, Friendster hit the ground running with $ 50 million as funding. The site was so popular, even Google wanted to buy the site for a whopping $ 30 million. However, Friendster got too confident and decided to reject Google’s offer, a move which is still considered as one of the biggest mistakes made by a startup. While the idea of connecting with friends and talking to people on a common platform was considered a novel and bright idea, Friendster failed because it refused to move with the trends. By not letting users share news, the site slowly started becoming irrelevant as people started growing bored of the simple tools. What also went against Friendster was, it was profile based and did not let you do things unless you went directly to a person’s profile. If Friendster had stuck to the trends and gone with the flow, it wouldn’t have fizzled out and disappeared so quickly. Oh well, at least other social media platforms are learning from Friendster’s mistakes!
Founded in the year 1998 by two childhood friends, GovWorks had all the right intentions, but was not worked on in the right way. Designed both to help the government keep track of its clients, and for the citizens to perform tasks like pay tickets online, apply for jobs and look for information regarding to the city in which they were, the startup grew from having just 8 employees in the beginning to 250 employees by 2000. However, because of major rifts between the two founding partners, the startup refused to take off. Furthermore, because of the founders’ inability to fix the constantly growing bugs, they had no option but to sell GovWorks in 2001. The lesson here? If you are mixing your professional and personal life, make sure you have a plan of action to not let things go bad.
Before the likes of BigBasket and other grocery delivery platforms became popular, WebVan started toying with this idea in the year 1999. Founded by Louis Borders during the dot com boom, the startup promised to deliver groceries to customers within a 30 minute time frame. Louis Borders and CEO George Shaheen believed in the online system so much, they jumped into the business with guns blazing. Despite buying warehouses full of produce, trucks to deliver the products and expensive computers to simplify the delivery process, the startup refused to make a mark. With people refusing to buy into the idea of ordering groceries online and because of the lack of internet everywhere, the owners had no option but to shut up shop in the year 2001. If they had waited for a few years later, they would have made quite a mark now!
4. Pay By Touch
While Paytm is perhaps one of the most used apps for online payment, it wasn’t the first startup of its kind. Founded in the year 2002, Pay By Touch allowed users to make online payments with the swipe of a finger on a biometric sensor. Innovative and one of the first startups of its kind, Pay By Touch rose quickly and even raised $ 340 million! However, despite doing extremely well, the Company started failing because CEO John P. Rogers was accused of domestic abuse and possession of drugs, amongst other charges. With so much bad press, the Company stopped doing well and in 2007, it had to be shut down.
Founded in 1995, WebTV was supposed to be a combination of the World Wide Web and television. Coming in the size of a VCR which promised to bring affordable internet to the living room without using a PC, WebTV grew so big, MSN bought it and renamed it as MSN TV in the year 1997. However, because of the lack of availability of broadband and the steep price of the device, the idea slowly started to die. While WebTV didn’t take off when it launched, companies like Xbox 360 and DVRs are using a similar principle now.
While each of these startups thought their ideas could work if done right, they all failed because they just couldn’t make it across the troubled waters. If you think we missed out on other startups like these, comment and let us know!
Facebook Finally Launches Messenger Rooms Which Accommodates 50 People And Unlimited Video Calls
The lockdown and quarantine measures implemented in multiple countries meant that people could not commute to work or go outside for social gatherings. This scenario hugely benefited video calling and conferencing platforms and applications. Zoom, Skype, Facetime, Google Hangouts and Houseparty have seen a phenomenal spike in daily active users. Facebook has joined the club by finally upgrading its messenger capabilities.
Facebook Messenger is a chatting and video calling application developed by Facebook. Facebook is finally introducing a new feature in messenger named Messenger Rooms. The free feature will allow Facebook and Messenger users to create group video calls of up to 50 people, contrary to the eight people limit available currently. The Messenger Room does not require a Facebook account and works similar to the Zoom meeting rooms. Participants can join the room by clicking on a link.
The rooms do not have any time limit which lets people converse indefinitely. There are a slew of other features like augmented reality filters, normal filters, virtual masks and a feature to lock the rooms. Facebook also announced that it is doubling WhatsApp’s video call person limit from four to eight people as well. However the Messenger Rooms feature is not immediately available and Facebook will roll the feature out slowly in all the regions it operates.
In a company blog post,Facebook said that 700 million accounts participate in calls everyday between Facebook and WhatsApp. Once Facebook announced this news, shares of the video calling company Zoom fell down by 5%.
Star Wars And Coca Cola Singapore Launch Limited Edition World’s First Electronic Coke Bottles
Star Wars over the years has managed to gather a cult following which stretches across generations. Star Wars is one of the biggest and the most famous film franchises to have ever been created. The latest trilogy in the Star Wars is referred to as the Skywalker Saga and the final movie of the trilogy, The Rise Of Skywalker released last year. Movie franchises have been known to rely on merchandising as part of their promotional strategies and the Star Wars franchise partnered up with Coca Cola to create a unique and one of its kind merchandise. The output of this partnership is very unique and the world’s first electronic coke bottle.
Coca-Cola Singapore harnessed the flexibility of Organic Light Emitting Diode (OLED) displays to wrap special-edition sugar-free Coke bottles with light-up, glowing lightsabers wielded by the Star Wars characters, Rey and Kylo Ren.
These bottles are part of a limited edition batch and the only way to obtain one of them is by answering a riddle which is revealed on Facebook and Instagram. Answering these riddles will reveal locations near the 7-Eleven stores around Singapore where one can obtain a special pass. This special pass can be redeemed to purchase the limited edition bottle. These bottles have a touch sensor and squeezing the bottle will light up the lightsabers of Kylo Ren and Rey. Each OLED on the bottle can light up to 500 times.
There are only 8000 of these bottles available making these collectibles very rare. Some of these bottles are sold on ebay for as much as $ 800 which is a high premium.
It will be interesting to see how this OLED technology will be incorporated and it is safe to say that we would be seeing more products which use OLEDs on their packaging in the future. Coca Cola is always at the forefront of innovation and these electronic coke bottles are a perfect example.
‘May the force be with you’ should you set out to find one of these rare collectibles!
Five Unusual Yet Useful Japanese Innovations
The Japanese are responsible for some of the most important innovations which shaped the world. However, there are some gadgets which, although useful, can seem a bit unusual. Here is a list of five such Japanese innovations, which may seem funny but are quite useful.
Five unusual yet useful Japanese innovations
1) Eye drop glasses
Every one of us has gone through the struggle of putting eye drops without spilling them. It truly is a waste of money. Hence, Japanese innovators came up with a solution and invented the eye drop glasses. Even though the glasses look funny, they ensure anybody who uses them will never waste eye drops ever again.
2) Head support
Head support is a device in the shape of an arm. Designed for people who work extensively with computers, this device is useful if you want to avoid neck pain. The device can also help keep your head in one position when you accidentally fall asleep.
3) Movable fridge
Invented by Panasonic, this movable fridge is equipped with sensors, is able to move around your house and can come to you when commanded. Known as the fridge of the future, this invention will be great to assist to the elderly.
4) Handwritten letter vending machine
In the age of smartphones, there are many who still prefer handwritten notes. However, many people are too busy or too lazy to write a letter. The Japanese scientists found a solution to this problem and introduced vending machines which generate handwritten letters.
5) Flying umbrella
The flying umbrella is a device invented by Asahi Power Services and uses artificial intelligence (AI). The flying umbrella is a solution for people who are tired of holding an umbrella while doing their daily tasks. The flying umbrella, thanks to AI, can hover above its owner, saving them from rain and allowing them to do their tasks without any problem.
Did we miss mentioning any other unusual yet useful Japanese inventions? Comment below and let us know.
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