3 Revolutionary Inventions that Failed Miserably

Tuesday, June 25, 2019, 6:00 PM | Leave Comment

Ask anyone what it takes to create a successful business and they’ll tell you that the first thing you need is a unique product.

If you have a revolutionary product that defines a generation, even better—your company can’t possibly fail.

But while a unique product does provide a solid foundation, one on which many billion-dollar brands have been built, it’s not always a guarantee.

Sometimes the product is too good, too efficient and too revolutionary, resulting in very little profit for the company that makes it.

Sounds far-fetched, right? Take a look at these three examples to see just what we mean.

  1. Sega Dreamcast

    The Sega Dreamcast was a true revolution in gaming console design. It featured many elements that no other gaming console offered and was the first to offer a true multiplayer gaming experience. However, the technology wasn’t advanced enough to make this work seamlessly, and with even a PC gaming in its infancy, it seems like the world just wasn’t ready for multiplayer console gaming at that time.

    Of course, this wasn’t the only thing that made the Dreamcast standout from its competitors. The Dreamcast was a high-performance machine filled with innovative developments, including the visual memory unit, which worked like a mini console as well as a memory card.

    This was Sega’s masterpiece. However, it was released following its massively unsuccessful predecessor, the Sega Saturn. It was a time when Sony was dominating the market with the PlayStation Two console. Very few people were willing to make the switch to Sega from Sony, and ultimately the Dreamcast had a very short lifespan and achieved sales far fewer than was both anticipated and expected.

    To put things into perspective, the Sega Dreamcast sold fewer than 11 million units and was on the market for less than three years. The Sony PlayStation Two, however, was on the market for 13 years and sold just shy of 160 million units. The Dreamcast was the console that essentially ended Sega as a manufacturer and turned them exclusively into a video game developer.

  2. Concorde

    Concorde is the aviation industry’s big idea that didn’t quite takeoff. The French-British plane first flew in 1969 and entered into service 7 years later, with many believing that it would revolutionize the aviation and travel industry. Even today, some 50 years after it first hit the skies, Concorde is still the fastest commercial passenger plane in history.

    Modern planes fly at just under 600mph, Concorde reached speeds of over 1,300mph. The problem is, it was expensive, with the entire program costing around $13 billion when accounting for inflation.

    The planes themselves were very expensive to make and because of the sonic boom they created, it was difficult to fly them over land without triggering a barrage of complaints. They also met with a fuel crisis and a recession, before the events of 9/11 finished them off. Simply put, while it was a great idea and could take passengers to their destination in half the time, it was an expensive project that airlines and customers couldn’t afford to be part of.

  3. Google Glass

    Google Glass was supposed to be the next big evolution in wearable technology. It was set to change how we interacted with the world around us and how we accessed the Internet. However, as you might’ve guessed from the fact that we’re not all walking around with wearable search engines on our faces, Google Glass didn’t take off as anticipated.

    Customers failed to see how they would benefit from glasses that connected them to the internet. It was also expensive, costing around $1,500, and there were privacy issues.

    The idea behind Google Glass is that you wore the glasses wherever you went and could use them to connect and perform an array of functions. But the glasses were fitted with a camera that could take a picture at any time, and this led to a lot of user concerns as well as concerns from casinos, poker tables, concert organizers, and anyone else who didn’t like the idea of being secretly recorded.

    Add to this the low battery life and the fact that few people liked the design, and it’s easy to see why it failed.

Other Major Failures

The examples above were just three of the many I could have pointed to. Take the Hula Hoop for example. Sure, it was a massively popular trend, but a trend, by definition, comes and goes and that makes life very hard for the company trying to keep up.

Imagine selling 1 thousand products one month, 5 thousand the next, and then 10 thousand the month after that. You’d rush to stock-up, would’t you? Your goal would be to capitalize on the success by ensuring you weren’t short on stock. But if that fad disappeared from one month to the next, you’d have a stockpile that you couldn’t see and you’d be losing a fortune. What’s more, Hula Hoops were robust but cheap. Most users never bought more than 1 and that 1 didn’t generate much by the way of big margins.

And then you have the Mini, an iconic car that actually cost the manufacturers money every time they sold one, or the Segway, which would have bankrupt the company that sold it if they hadn’t have gotten lucky with a secondary product (the scooter).

There are many of these inventions out there, and they all prove that a great idea isn’t all you need to succeed.

Author Bio

Matthew Holland is an expert on MLM products and believes this industry to be the driving force behind some of the biggest companies in the world. He has written extensively about MLM and marketing on the whole and his work has featured in hundreds of publications the world over.

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