Why you should take your Child to the Museum of Failure?

Sense of amazement does not escape us when we look at Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Uber among other companies which rose from humble beginnings and went on to revolutionize the way business is done in their respective fields.

Truly, they represent epitome of success. However, no matter their impeccable journey- one thing remains unchanged, success was never a superficial affair for them.

Their initial launch and presentation of ideas received criticism, poor feedback and cynical reviews from the public which resulted in hundreds and thousands of investment dollars going down the drain behind certain ideas which did not ‘click and appeal’.

If Steve Jobs, Jeff Bezos and Mark Zuckerberg decided to give up because of harsh consumer response and initial failure- they wouldn’t have become who they are today. Failure was no match for their determination to succeed.

Being comfortable with failure is linked to more happiness!

To be completely honest, the generation I belong to and times we live in – I think it would have been a whole lot better had we been raised to get comfortable with failures rather than being raised to be cutthroat competitive.

I am not against being ambitious, but there is a fine line between aspiring to do big in life and becoming obsessive over succeeding no matter what. The key to long term success, happiness and peace lies in getting comfortable with failures and treating them as learning opportunities rather than dead ends.

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What is the Museum of Failure?

For this reason, we recommend you plan a trip with your child to Museum of Failure. Located in Los Angeles, US and Sweden- the museum showcases over one hundred failed products and services from around the world.

Plans are on the cards to expand to Canada, France, Germany and China. Visit the museum and you will be flabbergasted!

From featuring ridiculous innovations like Colgate Company releasing frozen lasagna or Black Cola with coffee flavor, may cause one to laugh on the other hand products like Trump Vodka, Kodak Digital Camera are on the list as well to keep one amused.

Trailing through the premises looking at these failed products and ideas, I realized one thing: no matter how crazy and ridiculous an innovation might appear to be, the entrepreneurs behind them were not afraid to take the risks and give it a shot.

They believed in the idea to the extent of putting money and effort behind it- the idea might have failed after, but that did not discourage them from trying again and coming up with something better.

It’s not easy to invent a new product or service or come up with a new idea, one can never guarantee public response- it can only be gauged and anticipated.

However, what drove these great minds to challenge norms and redefine success was their consistent hard work, unwavering determination, firm belief that they will succeed and attitude defined by perseverance.

Equip your Child for Challenges of Tomorrow

There is more than meets the eye at the Museum of Failure. For a child who is at the pinnacle of learning, Museum of Failure will teach them never to give up!

Forget the idea that wit beyond man’s measure is man’s greatest treasure.

An average person can collect many accomplishments than a witty mind would do in his life. What matters is a little effort in standing up and that’s the extra mile. Once your child learn this, he will be miles ahead of others!

Why we need our kids to be failure friendly?

If the parents are willing to embrace failures with a positive stance in their life experiences and in professional platforms, they can easily transmit this ability to their child. Rather than being a victim of low self-esteem, parents inculcate in their children an idea that success is never bound be with intelligent minds.

Even the men with greatest wits have failed miserably in life. In this way intelligence can never be an ingredient to achieve success or a determining factor behind accomplishments.

So with the failure being a main motivator in paving a route to success, quit your belief that only brainy ones will have success in their two hands!

Also a comforting pat on your kids faltering shoulders will definitely boost them that opportunities are always there for ones who welcome them with open arms and there is always a room for further improvements.

The academic realm has categorized children fate in two neat boxes; either they win or they fail. If the former is the result of hard work and accomplishments, then the latter is totally ignored leaving the child is an anxious or depression driven state. This is where the blame falls on the teachers and parents.

Losing is as important as winning; and this can be achieved through a empathizing with your child, sharing your own failure situation or teach your child the reason why they have failed.

In doing so you are making your child shake hands with success through accepting their failures with a positive outlook.

children-failure-friendly

Interesting Exhibits from Museum of Failure

We bring to you some of the note-worthy failed products from the Museum of Failure for your viewing pleasure:

Microsoft Kin Phone

Microsoft attempted to establish its brand image to be hip, cool and trendy in mobile market via production of Kin One and Kin Two. These devices were built with social networking sites like facebook and twitter at their core and targeted teens and social media addicts to be their market base.

However, soon after its launch it was evident that Kin devices were doomed as these phones got tepid reviews and extremely poor sales hence Microsoft had to take a strategic decision to halt manufacturing.

Kin failed for the following reasons:

  1. Microsoft had poured resources into beefing up Windows Mobile and was all set to introduce Windows Phone 7 however, Kin was launched with a twist of new operating system.
    Kin’s OS wasn’t exactly like Windows 7 Phone but was not an entirely new operating system either for example: features like easy sharing and automated backup were not a part of Windows Phone 7 OS. Unfortunately, the launch left mobile enthusiasts confused and Team Microsoft realized splitting its OS brand could be a problem.
  2. Kin was expensive for an incomplete smartphone. At the time of its launch, Kin One (2.7 inch screen) was priced at $50 with 2-year Verizon contract while Kin Two (3.5 inch screen) was priced at $100.
    Although the prices were dropped to $30 and $80 respectively a few weeks later, it was still not cheap especially when all Kin devices required a monthly data plan which meant a minimum of $70 on the bill.
  3. Kin was not really a smartphone, it forced a data plan on its users and had a browser which allowed to access social networking sites but it did not allow for any apps or games on the phone which crippled its overall functionality.
  4. Microsoft attempted to make a mark in an extremely competitive cellphone market via Kin but the devices lacked the ‘cool’ and trendy factor.
    Microsoft’s Kin marketing campaign fell flat with its focus on hipster vibe. Kin adverts promised that the phone will make it easier to share photos, videos and access social networking feeds but can’t all smartphones of today do that? Users also complained about not being able to view replies, post photos or search on Twitter and Facebook.
  5. Microsoft failed to drive the innovative features of the phone which was mainly automated cloud backup.
    Kin had capability to backup photos, messages, videos, history, call logs etc into a free online storage area that could be accessed from any browser – all without needing the user to intervene.

Microsoft Kin Phone - Museum Of failure

Microsoft Zune

Zune was Microsoft’s portable media player which was launched in 2006. There was an obvious comparison to iPod and although the users enjoyed its interface and audio quality just as much, if not more compared to an iPod but the wider perception was that Zune was not as good.

Also, at the time of its launch it seemed that Zune did not fill a gap for user’s needs rather was simply there as a Microsoft’s way of competing with Apple’s products. By 2011 all Zune players were discontinued because of the following factors:

  1. Zune was launched in 2006 which was 5 years after the release of its competitors Apple’s iPod- if this is not poor timing then what is?
    The launch was too late and by that time iPod had already become the go-to brand for portable entertainment.
  2. Sometimes timing may be overlooked if the product features true innovation and unique traits compared to what’s already out in the market.
    However, this did not hold true for Zune- although the device was not bad but it did not have a unique selling proposition compared to what iPod was already offering. With insufficient marketing and no distinct USP- Zune did not match iPod’s popularity.
  3. Zune’s marketing campaign failed to establish the brand firmly against iPod. The ads were artsy which appealed to a small segment of music space but left out on captivating the broader audience of music listeners.
    The marketing message was confused and the campaign was too narrowly focused on a small segment who were anti-mainstream and wanted to stand apart from the crowd. The only appeal that this segment has was Zune was not an iPod since everybody else had an iPod.
    By being too focused on this notion. Microsoft missed out on appealing to a broader audience of music listeners.

Microsoft Zune - Museum Of FailureHarley-Davidson Perfume

Harley-Davidson Perfume is a perfect example of a brand extension gone wrong.

Harley-Davidson’s brand values are consistent with strength, masculinity and a rugged appeal however, launching a perfume in 1996 was definitely not consistent with their product offering- after all, who wants to smell like bikers who are perspiring under warm weather?

Black Fire, Destiny, Legendary, Hot Rod, and Territory were launched as iconic scents under the line of perfumes and colognes called the ‘Hot Road’ and featured woody aromas with hints of tobacco.

Consumers could not associate a range of perfumes with Harley’s original brand image and were definitely not willing to pay $25-$60 to get their hands on a bottle of cologne.

harley_davidson_perfume_museum of failure
New Coke aka Coke2

To compete and overcome threat from its biggest rival- Pepsi (post success of the ‘Pepsi Challenge’), Coca-Cola decided to launch ‘New Coke’ as means to revitalize its brand however, this proved to be a mistake which the company later regretted and which Pepsi fully played to its advantage. ‘New Coke’ was launched as a more innovative, sweeter beverage in 1985 and ‘Old Coke’ was completely removed from the market.

Consumers were outraged with the change and the debacle resulted in 400,000 calls and letters being sent to the soft drinks manufacturer. Just after 3 months, ‘Old Coke’ was launched again positioned as ‘Cola-Cola Classic’ and consumers showed a clear preference for classic over new (Coca-Cola Classic immediately outsold New Coke ten to one).

The company did not give up on ‘New Coke’ completely and decided to launch it as ‘Coke II’ to test the market again however, the change of name did not help and the product was killed for good in 2002. Coca-Cola learnt not to meddle with its original recipe especially when it dictates deep rooted customer loyalty.

coke-2-Museum Of Failure

Coca-Cola BlaK: I want to be Starbucks Too

Too many cooks spoil the broth!

Similarly mixing coke and coffee in the name of innovation was one of the bad decisions that Coca Cola took.

Coca Cola BlaK a.k.a coffee flavored coke was introduced in 2006 but soon after was pulled from the market in 2008. This drink was initially launched in France before making its way to the US and other markets.

It was launched with an intention of being an energy drink which high school and college students could consume to stay awake while studying for exams.

However, presumable the drink was high in caffeine even though it was launched as a ‘mid-calorie drink’, tasters also found the French version of the drink to be less sweet and more coffee flavored (clearly the coke to coffee ratio was not correct!).

The high caffeine content also meant that parents would not have recommended this drink for their children- once again defeating the company’s idea of its potential market. It was launched in a skinny, short, 8 ounce glass bottle which was a nice touch but the complete plastic wrap over the packaging gave a very cheap effect as it obscured the view.

coke-plus-coffee-museum-of-failure

BIC for her

BIC introducing pens ‘for her’ is a classic example of actual stereotyping women as timid, delicate and restricted to soft feminine colors like pink  and lavender that mirror the expectation society holds for them. The product received heavy criticism and failed because BIC made the following faulty assumptions:

  1. Women are not satisfied with the current variety of pens in the market.
  2. Women are not satisfied with the current variety of pens because they lacked feminine colors and fashion appeal.
  3. Women make decisions for purchasing products based on colors and design elements (e.g sparkles on a pen).
  4. Women would pay more for these items because they came in pink and purple colors as opposed to a black pen.

bic_for_her_-_museum_of_failure

Twitter Peek (The Tweek)

Peek Inc was launched in 2007 by 3 Virgin Mobile US employees, in 2008 ‘the Peek’ (email only hand-held device) was awarded as one of the best inventions for that year and also rated No.1 entry in the Gadget of the Year review on Time.com.

However, come 2009- Peek Inc launched ‘the Tweek’ (a portable device which runs only Twitter) in hopes that that one trick ponies will always click. This proved to be an idea which the company later came to regret. Tweek failed because it failed to support rich user experience which Blackberries and iPhones offered.

Irritating configurations like a tiny home screen which only displayed 20 characters instead of 140 which a Tweet allows should have been well-planned for a ‘Twitter exclusive’ handheld device. The browser lagged in speed and swiftness and displayed error prompts frequently for links which worked fine on a laptop, in fact it was not uncommon to view text-only versions of web links that had hay wired formatting and missing words.

The Tweek only supported TwitPic however if you used, TweetPhoto or vFrog – you’ll have to get yourself another smartphone. To top it up, it retailed at $199 (without monthly charges) which was pricey for a phone with limited functionality, no USP and zero practicality.

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What do you want to have for Dinner? Colgate

A toothpaste company venturing into food industry and ambitiously launching lasagna is courageous to say the least. Colgate launched a frozen food item (lasagna) as a part of its brand extension in 1980s.

No surprises for guessing it was epic fail.

Sensory association of the brand is with mint, gum and teeth cleanliness and how it helps clear away food particles from one’s mouth- how could this resonate with beef lasagna?

Brand extensions must make logical sense and compliment the overall brand image, perception and vision however, Colgate launching lasagna simply represented one of the biggest product and marketing fails ever.

colgate-beef-lagsana-museum-of-failure

Newton

Apple’s Newton MessagePad was launched in 1992 as a hand-held PDA (term that Apple coined to describe it). Newton was equipped with features like taking notes, managing calendars, sending faxes and storing contacts.

It came with a stylus and could translate handwriting into text- all these features were extremely ambitious because it was launched during a phase were handheld computers were thought to be work of science fiction. Vision of Apple with the launch of Newton was to set grounds for a new class of computing- the one which would fit into pockets and be portable.

Unfortunately, Newton died a sudden death that too owing to one of its awe-inspiring features: handwriting recognition.

The product was barely functioning by 1993 and Apple was already shipping it soon to realize it was marked with faulty character recognition problems.The market was unforgiving and even though the team later fixed the bug, it was too late.

To top it up, Steve Jobs despised the product owing to its poor performance and questioned its innovation.

He would Say, Waving his Fingers:

God gave us ten styluses Let’s not invent another. Click to Tweet

Newton failed as a result of mismanagement but served as a groundwork for the launch of iPhones and iPads.

apple-newton-museum-of-failure

Melting BI-cycle

ITERA by Volvo was a complete plastic bike introduced in 1982 to innovate bicycles by replacing plastic injection molded plastic with composite materials. Launch of ITERA was marked with a bad buzz.

It was sold in a box to mount itself however consumers missed missing parts or missing assembly tools. Breakage of parts was reported alongside the brittleness of the structure which was tested in changing climate notably heat.

Out of 30,000 pieces few were sold and rest were sent to the Caribbean region.

itera-bicycle_-museum-of-failure

Kodak DC40 : Why let the world go digital?

Kodak was an undisputed champion of analog film business however it failed to keep up with the changing technology and trends. When it finally decided to introduce digital photography, it was way too late.

Kodak also undermined the market needs and did not quite understand the way consumers wanted to interact with their photos. Although Kodak invented digital photography, it failed to capitalize on it properly.

During 1995, Kodak launched its first digital camera- DC40 to the market but in the fear of cannibalizing its own film business did not embrace it fully while other players quickly filled the niche.

Although it created the digital category but Kodak cameras did not stand out as because neither were they supported by any unique specs nor were their designs as appealing.

Rivals like Nikon, Canon, Sony etc kept innovating and introducing features like face detection, red-eye fixes, smile detection etc while Kodak followed pursuit.

Kodak also introduced world’s first Wi-Fi enabled camera in 2005- the EasyShare-One which was equipped with a separate card upon engaging which- the camera could connect to a near-by Wi-Fi network and users would be able to email photos to friends straight from their camera. The camera failed to sell well and the company killed the product line immediately.

Had Kodak been long sighted enough to see that photo-sharing was the way of the future- it might have thought twice. Kodak is a classic example of how companies who fail to innovate and adapt and rather choose to play it safe, run out of business eventually.

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Trump Board Game

Aim of Trump Board Game was to either let players make more money through bidding and gambling or how to force one’s opponents out of money via taxes. The game was monotonous, dull and boring and focused simply on money making tactics and leg-pulling.

The board game is one of the exhibits at Museum of Failure. Jeffrey Breslow- a leading games inventor and former president and chief executive of Big Monster Toys, conceived the idea of having a board game dedicated to Donald Trump inspired by his 1987 book “The Art of The Deal”.

The game was launched by Milton Bradley Company at the Trump Tower in 1989. For Trump, the game meant promotion more than anything else and he even appeared in the TV commercial. Trump-The Game was about buying and selling real estate but it was described as a boring and more complicated version of Monopoly.

Sales plunged and product was declared as a failure with only 40% realized of the 2m sales potential.  Later in 2004, Parker Brothers re-released a simplified version of the game however it was nothing more than bluffing opponents into spending excessively while you buy low and make big profits.

Trump Board Game which was listed by Time Magazine among the ‘Top 10 Donald Trump Business Failures’, failed miserably because of its singular objective of rapidly accumulating wealth for acquiring more real estate and firing people, contradictions, poor user reviews and players complained that it did not give them a feel-good experience.

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Trump University: I will teach the world how it’s done

Donald Trump clearly stays in limelight (for all the wrong reasons!). He is a businessman who came up with an idea to operate a for-profit, learning annex that some of its own employees regarded as a rip-off scheme.

A federal lawsuit was also filed against the University and among some of the testimonies submitted by disgruntled employees during a class-action suit- Ronald Schnackenberg’s (a former salesman for Trump University) testament verified that although the Trump University promised consumers that it would enable them to make more money in real estate, in reality all that the program aimed to do was sell most expensive seminars.

The Trump University was regarded as nothing more than a fraudulent scheme which preyed on the uneducated and elderly to rip them off their money.

Trump University began operating in 2005 and marketed its graduate, post graduate and doctorate programs however, since day one it was not a university but merely a hoax which retailed Trump’s secret insights into making money from the real estate business.

The initial bait was free classes designed to lure students to sign up for a pricey 3-day seminar (at a cost of $1500) to learn from Trump’s personal money making and investment strategies.

The focus quickly shifted from online classes to push live classes and seminars more aggressively. Again, the first session was free to attend but a heavy cost was associated with consequent classes.

Trump University Scam went further than that as it was unveiled that the curriculum or materials were never reviewed by Trump himself, similarly neither the instructors nor the speakers were handpicked by him. In fact he never attended any of those ‘educational’ 3-day seminars; to top it up no specific ‘Trump Strategies or Techniques’ were taught at those sessions!

The course material was in fact developed by a third-party firm which developed similar programs for an array of motivational speakers and seminar and timeshare rental companies.

The university operated like a money-making business venture that lured people through its seminars initially and then marketed its heavily priced ‘mentorship’ programs for ‘complete success to further rip them off their resources.

Clearly, Trump University bought no good to its employees or attendees and after multiple lawsuits the university closed its operations in 2010.

trump-university_-_museum_of_failure

Trump Vodka

Trump Vodka is yet another failure associated with Donald Trump. The drink was produced by Drink Americas under the license from The Trump Organization. It was launched in 2005 but discontinued in the US in 2011 after failing to meet the required threshold for distribution.

Trump himself is a non-drinker and had never tasted Trump Vodka- but he went on to launch a complete brand of an alcoholic beverage under his name (contradictory much?).

Trump vodka was positioned under the slogan ‘Success Distilled’ but in the words of Trump himself, he simply launched it to outdo his friend- the owner of Grey Goose Vodka.

There are multiple reasons why Trump Vodka failed- expensive packaging, non-scalability, contradictory marketing campaign, hefty pricing accompanied with an average taste (it was clearly not worth it).

trump_vodka_-_museum_of_failure

Swedish Oreo Fish

No! Oreo launching a Swedish Fish Flavored cookie is not a hoax!

This is beyond bizarre and challenged one’s taste buds and sensory appeal to its limit. Oreo’s disastrous mash up combined classic chocolate cookies with a fish flavored filling.

Thankfully, these cookies were offered only at Kroger stores that too for a limited time.

swedish-fish-oreo

Nike Magneto

With Magneto- Nike took innovating eyewear too far!

Nike Magneto was meant to be lightweight sunglasses attached to each temple via an adhesive magnet.

The idea was to replace the need to wear bulky headgear like goggles and headbands for athletes with lightweight, futuristic, trendy eyewear. The idea was too novel for its time and the market did not embrace the product.

Why would consumers tape magnets to their heads when there were other solutions available?

The idea seemed impractical and less compelling from consumers view at that time hence Nike decided to kill it.

Years later, Nike decided to rethink its vision of wearable product which was worth the squeeze and this bought FuelBand – Nike’s sleek electronic wristband which has received rave reviews for its design and user interface, to the market.

Nike Magneto

WOW Chips!!!

In 1998 Frito Lay introduced WOW Chips which were branded to be fat-free chips made from olestra.

Although it was positioned to be a ‘diet-effective’ junk food option but doesn’t the proposition sound too good to be true?

Indeed it was!

WOW Chips seemed to be a dieter’s dream but proved to be a nightmare. Olestra contained in the chips passed down the digestive tract unabsorbed because the molecules were really big; it ended up serving as a laxative and caused cramps and diarrhea.

The product failed because its dietary evaluation was flawed, it caused health concerns and problems among its users and consumer trust was tainted (Frito Lay is a well-known brand which commands consumer loyalty but it risked losing its fan base by using a questionable ingredient like Olestra).

The idea of ‘healthy junk food’ is farfetched and too good to be true!

pringles-olestra-museum-of-failure

Google Glass

Google Glass failed not because of its technology but because users could not pinpoint the problem it solved or rather why they needed it in the first place?

Google Glass was launched in 2012 at a high price point of about $1500 however, it was discontinued in 2015.

Two main features of this product were prompt image capturing and to have a feed of useful information from the internet a glance away- but what were the practical, daily uses of this product? None.

Feature of built in camera raised security concerns by onlookers who thought that the glasses were recording them without their consent and knowledge, this led to several Glass-wearers being attacked in public.

The design was criticized to be awkward and unattractive as it simply did not mesh with a person’s ‘natural’ look and gave more of a ‘prototype’ feel in terms of wear-ability.

This coupled with occasional sluggishness and jumpiness of the app and menus turned very frustrating and contributed to a substandard consumer experience leading to the product’s failure.

google_glass_-_museum_of_failure

Ford Esel

Ford Edsel was launched in 1958 as a premium car for middle-class Americans.

Prior to its launch, the company pumped $250 million into the product because they were so confident of its success however, post launch- the company lost $350 million because the product flopped so badly.

Initial Edsel’s which were delivered to the customers were with oil leaks, sticking hoods, trunks that wouldn’t open and push buttons which wouldn’t work!

Poor design, flawed features (which included overconsumption of gas), overpricing at the time of economic downturn all set Ford Edsel up for failure.

The product was pulled off the market in 1960.

ford-edsel-museum-of-failure

Toothpaste by Bofers

Bofors, a famous Swedish weapons manufacturing company- launching a toothpaste?

Something doesn’t add up!

Fluoride was once regarded as an agent to make one’s teeth cleaner, whiter and healthier however, the Swedish Dental Association came up with a research study which cast a doubt on negative effects and potential health concerns from fluoride usage- this sent consumers downright rejecting toothpastes containing fluoride.

No surprises for guessing that fluoride was a main ingredient in Bofor’s toothpaste!

bofors-toothpaste-museum-of-failure

Juicero

Juicero- a device for fruit and vegetable juicing, failed because it was overpriced (launched at a price point of $700) and overdesigned (a squeezer made complicated with technical features which required wifi access simply to detect if the juice pack was recalled/expired?).

The company was launched in 2013 and concluded its operations in 2017. The company valued over engineering over convenience.

To be honest who would want an over-specialized squeezer?

juicero_-_museum_of_failure

Who Said Ketchup Needs To Be Red? Heinz- Green Ketchup

Heinz Green Ketchup could not have been omitted from our list of bizarre inventions which represent classic product failures.

One’s expectation when squeezing ketchup from a pouch is to savor ready-to-lick rich, vibrant, thick, red sauce which serves as a dipping for your food. How would you feel if a green sauce was squirted on your plate instead?

It will not only feel unsavory, you may push your plate away or check if it is really ketchup?

Heinz’s rationale to pick a green color for its ketchup line defeats us because it’s an odd color of choice given the type of sauce it represents and somehow it does not resonate well with the taste-buds (it carries a sickly feel- don’t you think?).

Launch of the green ketchup in July 2000 by Heinz also led to confusion among parents buying sauce for children, one-was it really ketchup? And two- how would it taste? Green Ketchup was introduced under ‘EZ Squirt’ which represented a line of different colored ketchups including purple, pink, orange, teal and blue.

These products were made by adding food coloring to the traditional ketchup. As of January 2006 these products have been discontinued.

heinz_green_tomato_ketchup_-_museum_of_failure

Sony Betamax

Close to 40 years after its introduction, Sony decided to discontinue Betamax in March 2016. Sony developed the cassette technology back in 1970s which served a unique user experience however, Betamax first lost to VHS tapes- which itself hasn’t been in wide use in a couple of decades.

Sony stopped manufacturing Betamax in 2002.

Format wars broke out in the 1980s with Sony trying to convince the Japanese government to stand behind Betamax since it produced higher quality images over VHS however, its competitor JVC convinced the likes of Sharp, Hitachi and Matsushita to get behind VHS.

Sony’s Betamax conceded defeat when VHS player was launched in 1988. Betamax found moderate success in Japanese TV recording studios- but then digital recording came along.

Soon after the world witnessed introduction of new DVD technology, however no attempt to revitalize Betamax was made.

sony-betamax_museum_of_failure

Amazon FireFly

Amazon’s FireFly was a sheer disappointment ever since it was launched. Gathering only a rating of 2.6 out of 5 stars, consumers called the device ‘mediocre’ and ‘forgettable’.

Battling with the likes of Apple, Samsung and Google in a highly competitive smartphone market, Amazon stumbled with the FireFly, failure of which caused the tech giant to take a dent on its money and resources.

So what was wrong with Firefly?

It was a smartphone which had comparable features in terms of the screen, memory and camera based on what the market offered.

Only the three-dimensional effect or graphics on certain apps and an application (called the Firefly) which let the shoppers identify over a 100 million products from physical stores and buy them online- set this phone apart. The underlying motive of this phone was to redirect consumer shopping traffic towards Amazon’s online store.

However, in crowded space dominated by Apple and Android devices- being ‘adequate’ simply did not cut it (especially when the phone is launched 6-7 years after the first iPhone and Android phones were introduced in the market).

To top it up, a price point of $200 did not justify the ‘overly neutral’ phone. At the end of it all, Amazon was left with $83 million worth of Fire phones that did not sell and back in 2014 (Q3)- Amazon declared a loss of $437million out of which $170million was accredited to the Fire phone.

amazon_firefly_-_museum_of_failure

Nokia- NGage

By 1998, Nokia was a world leader in the mobile phone market however in an attempt to stay true to its vision of ‘storied capacity for transforming and developing new technologies while adapting to changing market trends’– N-Gage was launched in 2000.

During that time people carried mobile phones and handheld gaming consoles separately, however Nokia came up with the idea of combining the two devices into a single unit. N-Gage was launched in 2003.

The underlying idea was to compete with portable gaming consoles like Game Boy Advance (GBA) and lure gamers away while allowing multiplayer gaming experience via Bluetooth and Internet and offering additional features like MP3 and real audio/video playback.

Reality proved otherwise, commercially N-Gage was a disaster and GBA outsold N-Gage by a ratio of 100:1 at the time of their launch.

Why did the product fail?

Because it was a mediocre gaming console and was not a very good phone either.

N-Gage was not designed as a very smart device: it had to be disassembled to change games, users had to remove the cover and the battery because the game slot was affixed in such a manner, to take calls people had to tilt the phone sideways with the thin edge against one’s head (this is how N-Gage became known as the Taco phone- imagine a D-shaped device titled against your head while you answered a call!).

Nokia made an attempt to re-launch the N-Gage QD in 2004 after fixing some of the issues, but the device was no match against Nintendo.

Sales were embarrassingly low and by 2005, Nokia decided to discontinue N-Gage for good.

nokia-ngage-museum-of-failure

Block Buster: the world before NetFlix

Reed Hastings- founder of Netflix, back in 2000 flew to Dallas to propose a partnership to Blockbuster’s CEO- John Antioco.

The proposal was that Netflix (a fledging brand at that time) would run Blockbuster’s brand online and Blockbuster would promote Netflix in its stores.

The outcome of that meeting was Hastings got laughed out of the room.

Fast forward a couple of years, Blockbuster declared bankruptcy in 2010 while Netflix is worth over $28billion today.

Blockbuster was a market leader of video rental industry with strong retail presence, efficient operations, loyal customers and hefty marketing budgets. It earned a major share of its revenue by charging its customers late fees (this meant the company’s profits became dependent on penalizing its users).

However, Netflix capitalized on absence of retail locations which gave it more room to offer greater consumer choice by operating at lower costs and instead of offering rentals- the company offered subscriptions which made late fees unnecessary.

While Netflix led the disruptive industry innovation by aggressively pursuing online video streaming content instead of buying DVDs the traditional way in 2007, Blockbuster failed to adapt to the changing market trend.

It was after all a retail-video rental company and the leadership at that time was not comfortable adopting to the ‘new technology’. By 2011, Netflix’s subscriber base had reached 24.4 million people and keeping in mind a minimum subscriber fee of $7.99/month- that translated into $200 million in gross revenue which the company was making EVERY MONTH!

Judging by the numbers, Blockbuster tried launching several projects to copy and compete with Netflix however, it was too late because the customer base had already switched to a better, more viable and consumer friendly alternative.

Clearly, failing to adapt is setting up to fail!

blockbuster_-_museum_of_failure

So in the nutshell what has the Musuem of Failure taught us?

Success stories are always one-dimensional with a monotonous drone about the wonders of success and its glories. It’s the failing part that intrigues the people the most and when we see great Companies coming up with such flop ideas in the museum of failure we have a good laugh by questioning their sanity but we also realize that these failures actually made them the most successful

Needless to say planning a trip to Museum of Failure with your kids will be a great learning experience while being entertaining at the same time. It will encourage the kids to have fun at the same time for you to have conversations with them to encourage them to get more failure-friendly.

Happy Touring!




2 comments on Why you should take your Child to the Museum of Failure?

  1. William_primb says:

    The Museum of Failur e gives a new lease on life to more than one hundred products that somehow went horribly wrong. Visitors find everything from abandoned tech gadgets, such as Apple Newton or Google Glass, to food items like Coca-Cola BlaK (a coffee-flavored soft drink) and lasagna from Colgate Toothpaste’s foray into frozen dinners.

    1. admin says:

      Thank you William for sharing your thoughts!
      Yes, some great insights and that is why we recommend to visit it.

      It remind us that failure is a part of life and even big companies and brightest mind fail a lot of times.

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Why you should take your Child to the Museum of Failure?

Sense of amazement does not escape us when we look at Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Uber among other companies which rose from humble beginnings and went on to revolutionize the way business is done in their respective fields.

Truly, they represent epitome of success. However, no matter their impeccable journey- one thing remains unchanged, success was never a superficial affair for them.

Their initial launch and presentation of ideas received criticism, poor feedback and cynical reviews from the public which resulted in hundreds and thousands of investment dollars going down the drain behind certain ideas which did not ‘click and appeal’.

If Steve Jobs, Jeff Bezos and Mark Zuckerberg decided to give up because of harsh consumer response and initial failure- they wouldn’t have become who they are today. Failure was no match for their determination to succeed.

Being comfortable with failure is linked to more happiness!

To be completely honest, the generation I belong to and times we live in – I think it would have been a whole lot better had we been raised to get comfortable with failures rather than being raised to be cutthroat competitive.

I am not against being ambitious, but there is a fine line between aspiring to do big in life and becoming obsessive over succeeding no matter what. The key to long term success, happiness and peace lies in getting comfortable with failures and treating them as learning opportunities rather than dead ends.

museum-of-failure-los-angeles

 

What is the Museum of Failure?

For this reason, we recommend you plan a trip with your child to Museum of Failure. Located in Los Angeles, US and Sweden- the museum showcases over one hundred failed products and services from around the world.

Plans are on the cards to expand to Canada, France, Germany and China. Visit the museum and you will be flabbergasted!

From featuring ridiculous innovations like Colgate Company releasing frozen lasagna or Black Cola with coffee flavor, may cause one to laugh on the other hand products like Trump Vodka, Kodak Digital Camera are on the list as well to keep one amused.

Trailing through the premises looking at these failed products and ideas, I realized one thing: no matter how crazy and ridiculous an innovation might appear to be, the entrepreneurs behind them were not afraid to take the risks and give it a shot.

They believed in the idea to the extent of putting money and effort behind it- the idea might have failed after, but that did not discourage them from trying again and coming up with something better.

It’s not easy to invent a new product or service or come up with a new idea, one can never guarantee public response- it can only be gauged and anticipated.

However, what drove these great minds to challenge norms and redefine success was their consistent hard work, unwavering determination, firm belief that they will succeed and attitude defined by perseverance.

Equip your Child for Challenges of Tomorrow

There is more than meets the eye at the Museum of Failure. For a child who is at the pinnacle of learning, Museum of Failure will teach them never to give up!

Forget the idea that wit beyond man’s measure is man’s greatest treasure.

An average person can collect many accomplishments than a witty mind would do in his life. What matters is a little effort in standing up and that’s the extra mile. Once your child learn this, he will be miles ahead of others!

Why we need our kids to be failure friendly?

If the parents are willing to embrace failures with a positive stance in their life experiences and in professional platforms, they can easily transmit this ability to their child. Rather than being a victim of low self-esteem, parents inculcate in their children an idea that success is never bound be with intelligent minds.

Even the men with greatest wits have failed miserably in life. In this way intelligence can never be an ingredient to achieve success or a determining factor behind accomplishments.

So with the failure being a main motivator in paving a route to success, quit your belief that only brainy ones will have success in their two hands!

Also a comforting pat on your kids faltering shoulders will definitely boost them that opportunities are always there for ones who welcome them with open arms and there is always a room for further improvements.

The academic realm has categorized children fate in two neat boxes; either they win or they fail. If the former is the result of hard work and accomplishments, then the latter is totally ignored leaving the child is an anxious or depression driven state. This is where the blame falls on the teachers and parents.

Losing is as important as winning; and this can be achieved through a empathizing with your child, sharing your own failure situation or teach your child the reason why they have failed.

In doing so you are making your child shake hands with success through accepting their failures with a positive outlook.

children-failure-friendly

Interesting Exhibits from Museum of Failure

We bring to you some of the note-worthy failed products from the Museum of Failure for your viewing pleasure:

Microsoft Kin Phone

Microsoft attempted to establish its brand image to be hip, cool and trendy in mobile market via production of Kin One and Kin Two. These devices were built with social networking sites like facebook and twitter at their core and targeted teens and social media addicts to be their market base.

However, soon after its launch it was evident that Kin devices were doomed as these phones got tepid reviews and extremely poor sales hence Microsoft had to take a strategic decision to halt manufacturing.

Kin failed for the following reasons:

  1. Microsoft had poured resources into beefing up Windows Mobile and was all set to introduce Windows Phone 7 however, Kin was launched with a twist of new operating system.
    Kin’s OS wasn’t exactly like Windows 7 Phone but was not an entirely new operating system either for example: features like easy sharing and automated backup were not a part of Windows Phone 7 OS. Unfortunately, the launch left mobile enthusiasts confused and Team Microsoft realized splitting its OS brand could be a problem.
  2. Kin was expensive for an incomplete smartphone. At the time of its launch, Kin One (2.7 inch screen) was priced at $50 with 2-year Verizon contract while Kin Two (3.5 inch screen) was priced at $100.
    Although the prices were dropped to $30 and $80 respectively a few weeks later, it was still not cheap especially when all Kin devices required a monthly data plan which meant a minimum of $70 on the bill.
  3. Kin was not really a smartphone, it forced a data plan on its users and had a browser which allowed to access social networking sites but it did not allow for any apps or games on the phone which crippled its overall functionality.
  4. Microsoft attempted to make a mark in an extremely competitive cellphone market via Kin but the devices lacked the ‘cool’ and trendy factor.
    Microsoft’s Kin marketing campaign fell flat with its focus on hipster vibe. Kin adverts promised that the phone will make it easier to share photos, videos and access social networking feeds but can’t all smartphones of today do that? Users also complained about not being able to view replies, post photos or search on Twitter and Facebook.
  5. Microsoft failed to drive the innovative features of the phone which was mainly automated cloud backup.
    Kin had capability to backup photos, messages, videos, history, call logs etc into a free online storage area that could be accessed from any browser – all without needing the user to intervene.

Microsoft Kin Phone - Museum Of failure

Microsoft Zune

Zune was Microsoft’s portable media player which was launched in 2006. There was an obvious comparison to iPod and although the users enjoyed its interface and audio quality just as much, if not more compared to an iPod but the wider perception was that Zune was not as good.

Also, at the time of its launch it seemed that Zune did not fill a gap for user’s needs rather was simply there as a Microsoft’s way of competing with Apple’s products. By 2011 all Zune players were discontinued because of the following factors:

  1. Zune was launched in 2006 which was 5 years after the release of its competitors Apple’s iPod- if this is not poor timing then what is?
    The launch was too late and by that time iPod had already become the go-to brand for portable entertainment.
  2. Sometimes timing may be overlooked if the product features true innovation and unique traits compared to what’s already out in the market.
    However, this did not hold true for Zune- although the device was not bad but it did not have a unique selling proposition compared to what iPod was already offering. With insufficient marketing and no distinct USP- Zune did not match iPod’s popularity.
  3. Zune’s marketing campaign failed to establish the brand firmly against iPod. The ads were artsy which appealed to a small segment of music space but left out on captivating the broader audience of music listeners.
    The marketing message was confused and the campaign was too narrowly focused on a small segment who were anti-mainstream and wanted to stand apart from the crowd. The only appeal that this segment has was Zune was not an iPod since everybody else had an iPod.
    By being too focused on this notion. Microsoft missed out on appealing to a broader audience of music listeners.

Microsoft Zune - Museum Of FailureHarley-Davidson Perfume

Harley-Davidson Perfume is a perfect example of a brand extension gone wrong.

Harley-Davidson’s brand values are consistent with strength, masculinity and a rugged appeal however, launching a perfume in 1996 was definitely not consistent with their product offering- after all, who wants to smell like bikers who are perspiring under warm weather?

Black Fire, Destiny, Legendary, Hot Rod, and Territory were launched as iconic scents under the line of perfumes and colognes called the ‘Hot Road’ and featured woody aromas with hints of tobacco.

Consumers could not associate a range of perfumes with Harley’s original brand image and were definitely not willing to pay $25-$60 to get their hands on a bottle of cologne.

harley_davidson_perfume_museum of failure
New Coke aka Coke2

To compete and overcome threat from its biggest rival- Pepsi (post success of the ‘Pepsi Challenge’), Coca-Cola decided to launch ‘New Coke’ as means to revitalize its brand however, this proved to be a mistake which the company later regretted and which Pepsi fully played to its advantage. ‘New Coke’ was launched as a more innovative, sweeter beverage in 1985 and ‘Old Coke’ was completely removed from the market.

Consumers were outraged with the change and the debacle resulted in 400,000 calls and letters being sent to the soft drinks manufacturer. Just after 3 months, ‘Old Coke’ was launched again positioned as ‘Cola-Cola Classic’ and consumers showed a clear preference for classic over new (Coca-Cola Classic immediately outsold New Coke ten to one).

The company did not give up on ‘New Coke’ completely and decided to launch it as ‘Coke II’ to test the market again however, the change of name did not help and the product was killed for good in 2002. Coca-Cola learnt not to meddle with its original recipe especially when it dictates deep rooted customer loyalty.

coke-2-Museum Of Failure

Coca-Cola BlaK: I want to be Starbucks Too

Too many cooks spoil the broth!

Similarly mixing coke and coffee in the name of innovation was one of the bad decisions that Coca Cola took.

Coca Cola BlaK a.k.a coffee flavored coke was introduced in 2006 but soon after was pulled from the market in 2008. This drink was initially launched in France before making its way to the US and other markets.

It was launched with an intention of being an energy drink which high school and college students could consume to stay awake while studying for exams.

However, presumable the drink was high in caffeine even though it was launched as a ‘mid-calorie drink’, tasters also found the French version of the drink to be less sweet and more coffee flavored (clearly the coke to coffee ratio was not correct!).

The high caffeine content also meant that parents would not have recommended this drink for their children- once again defeating the company’s idea of its potential market. It was launched in a skinny, short, 8 ounce glass bottle which was a nice touch but the complete plastic wrap over the packaging gave a very cheap effect as it obscured the view.

coke-plus-coffee-museum-of-failure

BIC for her

BIC introducing pens ‘for her’ is a classic example of actual stereotyping women as timid, delicate and restricted to soft feminine colors like pink  and lavender that mirror the expectation society holds for them. The product received heavy criticism and failed because BIC made the following faulty assumptions:

  1. Women are not satisfied with the current variety of pens in the market.
  2. Women are not satisfied with the current variety of pens because they lacked feminine colors and fashion appeal.
  3. Women make decisions for purchasing products based on colors and design elements (e.g sparkles on a pen).
  4. Women would pay more for these items because they came in pink and purple colors as opposed to a black pen.

bic_for_her_-_museum_of_failure

Twitter Peek (The Tweek)

Peek Inc was launched in 2007 by 3 Virgin Mobile US employees, in 2008 ‘the Peek’ (email only hand-held device) was awarded as one of the best inventions for that year and also rated No.1 entry in the Gadget of the Year review on Time.com.

However, come 2009- Peek Inc launched ‘the Tweek’ (a portable device which runs only Twitter) in hopes that that one trick ponies will always click. This proved to be an idea which the company later came to regret. Tweek failed because it failed to support rich user experience which Blackberries and iPhones offered.

Irritating configurations like a tiny home screen which only displayed 20 characters instead of 140 which a Tweet allows should have been well-planned for a ‘Twitter exclusive’ handheld device. The browser lagged in speed and swiftness and displayed error prompts frequently for links which worked fine on a laptop, in fact it was not uncommon to view text-only versions of web links that had hay wired formatting and missing words.

The Tweek only supported TwitPic however if you used, TweetPhoto or vFrog – you’ll have to get yourself another smartphone. To top it up, it retailed at $199 (without monthly charges) which was pricey for a phone with limited functionality, no USP and zero practicality.

peek_-_museum_of_failure

What do you want to have for Dinner? Colgate

A toothpaste company venturing into food industry and ambitiously launching lasagna is courageous to say the least. Colgate launched a frozen food item (lasagna) as a part of its brand extension in 1980s.

No surprises for guessing it was epic fail.

Sensory association of the brand is with mint, gum and teeth cleanliness and how it helps clear away food particles from one’s mouth- how could this resonate with beef lasagna?

Brand extensions must make logical sense and compliment the overall brand image, perception and vision however, Colgate launching lasagna simply represented one of the biggest product and marketing fails ever.

colgate-beef-lagsana-museum-of-failure

Newton

Apple’s Newton MessagePad was launched in 1992 as a hand-held PDA (term that Apple coined to describe it). Newton was equipped with features like taking notes, managing calendars, sending faxes and storing contacts.

It came with a stylus and could translate handwriting into text- all these features were extremely ambitious because it was launched during a phase were handheld computers were thought to be work of science fiction. Vision of Apple with the launch of Newton was to set grounds for a new class of computing- the one which would fit into pockets and be portable.

Unfortunately, Newton died a sudden death that too owing to one of its awe-inspiring features: handwriting recognition.

The product was barely functioning by 1993 and Apple was already shipping it soon to realize it was marked with faulty character recognition problems.The market was unforgiving and even though the team later fixed the bug, it was too late.

To top it up, Steve Jobs despised the product owing to its poor performance and questioned its innovation.

He would Say, Waving his Fingers:

God gave us ten styluses Let’s not invent another. Click to Tweet

Newton failed as a result of mismanagement but served as a groundwork for the launch of iPhones and iPads.

apple-newton-museum-of-failure

Melting BI-cycle

ITERA by Volvo was a complete plastic bike introduced in 1982 to innovate bicycles by replacing plastic injection molded plastic with composite materials. Launch of ITERA was marked with a bad buzz.

It was sold in a box to mount itself however consumers missed missing parts or missing assembly tools. Breakage of parts was reported alongside the brittleness of the structure which was tested in changing climate notably heat.

Out of 30,000 pieces few were sold and rest were sent to the Caribbean region.

itera-bicycle_-museum-of-failure

Kodak DC40 : Why let the world go digital?

Kodak was an undisputed champion of analog film business however it failed to keep up with the changing technology and trends. When it finally decided to introduce digital photography, it was way too late.

Kodak also undermined the market needs and did not quite understand the way consumers wanted to interact with their photos. Although Kodak invented digital photography, it failed to capitalize on it properly.

During 1995, Kodak launched its first digital camera- DC40 to the market but in the fear of cannibalizing its own film business did not embrace it fully while other players quickly filled the niche.

Although it created the digital category but Kodak cameras did not stand out as because neither were they supported by any unique specs nor were their designs as appealing.

Rivals like Nikon, Canon, Sony etc kept innovating and introducing features like face detection, red-eye fixes, smile detection etc while Kodak followed pursuit.

Kodak also introduced world’s first Wi-Fi enabled camera in 2005- the EasyShare-One which was equipped with a separate card upon engaging which- the camera could connect to a near-by Wi-Fi network and users would be able to email photos to friends straight from their camera. The camera failed to sell well and the company killed the product line immediately.

Had Kodak been long sighted enough to see that photo-sharing was the way of the future- it might have thought twice. Kodak is a classic example of how companies who fail to innovate and adapt and rather choose to play it safe, run out of business eventually.

kodak_dc40_-_museum_of_failure

Trump Board Game

Aim of Trump Board Game was to either let players make more money through bidding and gambling or how to force one’s opponents out of money via taxes. The game was monotonous, dull and boring and focused simply on money making tactics and leg-pulling.

The board game is one of the exhibits at Museum of Failure. Jeffrey Breslow- a leading games inventor and former president and chief executive of Big Monster Toys, conceived the idea of having a board game dedicated to Donald Trump inspired by his 1987 book “The Art of The Deal”.

The game was launched by Milton Bradley Company at the Trump Tower in 1989. For Trump, the game meant promotion more than anything else and he even appeared in the TV commercial. Trump-The Game was about buying and selling real estate but it was described as a boring and more complicated version of Monopoly.

Sales plunged and product was declared as a failure with only 40% realized of the 2m sales potential.  Later in 2004, Parker Brothers re-released a simplified version of the game however it was nothing more than bluffing opponents into spending excessively while you buy low and make big profits.

Trump Board Game which was listed by Time Magazine among the ‘Top 10 Donald Trump Business Failures’, failed miserably because of its singular objective of rapidly accumulating wealth for acquiring more real estate and firing people, contradictions, poor user reviews and players complained that it did not give them a feel-good experience.

trump_board_game_-_museum_of_failure

Trump University: I will teach the world how it’s done

Donald Trump clearly stays in limelight (for all the wrong reasons!). He is a businessman who came up with an idea to operate a for-profit, learning annex that some of its own employees regarded as a rip-off scheme.

A federal lawsuit was also filed against the University and among some of the testimonies submitted by disgruntled employees during a class-action suit- Ronald Schnackenberg’s (a former salesman for Trump University) testament verified that although the Trump University promised consumers that it would enable them to make more money in real estate, in reality all that the program aimed to do was sell most expensive seminars.

The Trump University was regarded as nothing more than a fraudulent scheme which preyed on the uneducated and elderly to rip them off their money.

Trump University began operating in 2005 and marketed its graduate, post graduate and doctorate programs however, since day one it was not a university but merely a hoax which retailed Trump’s secret insights into making money from the real estate business.

The initial bait was free classes designed to lure students to sign up for a pricey 3-day seminar (at a cost of $1500) to learn from Trump’s personal money making and investment strategies.

The focus quickly shifted from online classes to push live classes and seminars more aggressively. Again, the first session was free to attend but a heavy cost was associated with consequent classes.

Trump University Scam went further than that as it was unveiled that the curriculum or materials were never reviewed by Trump himself, similarly neither the instructors nor the speakers were handpicked by him. In fact he never attended any of those ‘educational’ 3-day seminars; to top it up no specific ‘Trump Strategies or Techniques’ were taught at those sessions!

The course material was in fact developed by a third-party firm which developed similar programs for an array of motivational speakers and seminar and timeshare rental companies.

The university operated like a money-making business venture that lured people through its seminars initially and then marketed its heavily priced ‘mentorship’ programs for ‘complete success to further rip them off their resources.

Clearly, Trump University bought no good to its employees or attendees and after multiple lawsuits the university closed its operations in 2010.

trump-university_-_museum_of_failure

Trump Vodka

Trump Vodka is yet another failure associated with Donald Trump. The drink was produced by Drink Americas under the license from The Trump Organization. It was launched in 2005 but discontinued in the US in 2011 after failing to meet the required threshold for distribution.

Trump himself is a non-drinker and had never tasted Trump Vodka- but he went on to launch a complete brand of an alcoholic beverage under his name (contradictory much?).

Trump vodka was positioned under the slogan ‘Success Distilled’ but in the words of Trump himself, he simply launched it to outdo his friend- the owner of Grey Goose Vodka.

There are multiple reasons why Trump Vodka failed- expensive packaging, non-scalability, contradictory marketing campaign, hefty pricing accompanied with an average taste (it was clearly not worth it).

trump_vodka_-_museum_of_failure

Swedish Oreo Fish

No! Oreo launching a Swedish Fish Flavored cookie is not a hoax!

This is beyond bizarre and challenged one’s taste buds and sensory appeal to its limit. Oreo’s disastrous mash up combined classic chocolate cookies with a fish flavored filling.

Thankfully, these cookies were offered only at Kroger stores that too for a limited time.

swedish-fish-oreo

Nike Magneto

With Magneto- Nike took innovating eyewear too far!

Nike Magneto was meant to be lightweight sunglasses attached to each temple via an adhesive magnet.

The idea was to replace the need to wear bulky headgear like goggles and headbands for athletes with lightweight, futuristic, trendy eyewear. The idea was too novel for its time and the market did not embrace the product.

Why would consumers tape magnets to their heads when there were other solutions available?

The idea seemed impractical and less compelling from consumers view at that time hence Nike decided to kill it.

Years later, Nike decided to rethink its vision of wearable product which was worth the squeeze and this bought FuelBand – Nike’s sleek electronic wristband which has received rave reviews for its design and user interface, to the market.

Nike Magneto

WOW Chips!!!

In 1998 Frito Lay introduced WOW Chips which were branded to be fat-free chips made from olestra.

Although it was positioned to be a ‘diet-effective’ junk food option but doesn’t the proposition sound too good to be true?

Indeed it was!

WOW Chips seemed to be a dieter’s dream but proved to be a nightmare. Olestra contained in the chips passed down the digestive tract unabsorbed because the molecules were really big; it ended up serving as a laxative and caused cramps and diarrhea.

The product failed because its dietary evaluation was flawed, it caused health concerns and problems among its users and consumer trust was tainted (Frito Lay is a well-known brand which commands consumer loyalty but it risked losing its fan base by using a questionable ingredient like Olestra).

The idea of ‘healthy junk food’ is farfetched and too good to be true!

pringles-olestra-museum-of-failure

Google Glass

Google Glass failed not because of its technology but because users could not pinpoint the problem it solved or rather why they needed it in the first place?

Google Glass was launched in 2012 at a high price point of about $1500 however, it was discontinued in 2015.

Two main features of this product were prompt image capturing and to have a feed of useful information from the internet a glance away- but what were the practical, daily uses of this product? None.

Feature of built in camera raised security concerns by onlookers who thought that the glasses were recording them without their consent and knowledge, this led to several Glass-wearers being attacked in public.

The design was criticized to be awkward and unattractive as it simply did not mesh with a person’s ‘natural’ look and gave more of a ‘prototype’ feel in terms of wear-ability.

This coupled with occasional sluggishness and jumpiness of the app and menus turned very frustrating and contributed to a substandard consumer experience leading to the product’s failure.

google_glass_-_museum_of_failure

Ford Esel

Ford Edsel was launched in 1958 as a premium car for middle-class Americans.

Prior to its launch, the company pumped $250 million into the product because they were so confident of its success however, post launch- the company lost $350 million because the product flopped so badly.

Initial Edsel’s which were delivered to the customers were with oil leaks, sticking hoods, trunks that wouldn’t open and push buttons which wouldn’t work!

Poor design, flawed features (which included overconsumption of gas), overpricing at the time of economic downturn all set Ford Edsel up for failure.

The product was pulled off the market in 1960.

ford-edsel-museum-of-failure

Toothpaste by Bofers

Bofors, a famous Swedish weapons manufacturing company- launching a toothpaste?

Something doesn’t add up!

Fluoride was once regarded as an agent to make one’s teeth cleaner, whiter and healthier however, the Swedish Dental Association came up with a research study which cast a doubt on negative effects and potential health concerns from fluoride usage- this sent consumers downright rejecting toothpastes containing fluoride.

No surprises for guessing that fluoride was a main ingredient in Bofor’s toothpaste!

bofors-toothpaste-museum-of-failure

Juicero

Juicero- a device for fruit and vegetable juicing, failed because it was overpriced (launched at a price point of $700) and overdesigned (a squeezer made complicated with technical features which required wifi access simply to detect if the juice pack was recalled/expired?).

The company was launched in 2013 and concluded its operations in 2017. The company valued over engineering over convenience.

To be honest who would want an over-specialized squeezer?

juicero_-_museum_of_failure

Who Said Ketchup Needs To Be Red? Heinz- Green Ketchup

Heinz Green Ketchup could not have been omitted from our list of bizarre inventions which represent classic product failures.

One’s expectation when squeezing ketchup from a pouch is to savor ready-to-lick rich, vibrant, thick, red sauce which serves as a dipping for your food. How would you feel if a green sauce was squirted on your plate instead?

It will not only feel unsavory, you may push your plate away or check if it is really ketchup?

Heinz’s rationale to pick a green color for its ketchup line defeats us because it’s an odd color of choice given the type of sauce it represents and somehow it does not resonate well with the taste-buds (it carries a sickly feel- don’t you think?).

Launch of the green ketchup in July 2000 by Heinz also led to confusion among parents buying sauce for children, one-was it really ketchup? And two- how would it taste? Green Ketchup was introduced under ‘EZ Squirt’ which represented a line of different colored ketchups including purple, pink, orange, teal and blue.

These products were made by adding food coloring to the traditional ketchup. As of January 2006 these products have been discontinued.

heinz_green_tomato_ketchup_-_museum_of_failure

Sony Betamax

Close to 40 years after its introduction, Sony decided to discontinue Betamax in March 2016. Sony developed the cassette technology back in 1970s which served a unique user experience however, Betamax first lost to VHS tapes- which itself hasn’t been in wide use in a couple of decades.

Sony stopped manufacturing Betamax in 2002.

Format wars broke out in the 1980s with Sony trying to convince the Japanese government to stand behind Betamax since it produced higher quality images over VHS however, its competitor JVC convinced the likes of Sharp, Hitachi and Matsushita to get behind VHS.

Sony’s Betamax conceded defeat when VHS player was launched in 1988. Betamax found moderate success in Japanese TV recording studios- but then digital recording came along.

Soon after the world witnessed introduction of new DVD technology, however no attempt to revitalize Betamax was made.

sony-betamax_museum_of_failure

Amazon FireFly

Amazon’s FireFly was a sheer disappointment ever since it was launched. Gathering only a rating of 2.6 out of 5 stars, consumers called the device ‘mediocre’ and ‘forgettable’.

Battling with the likes of Apple, Samsung and Google in a highly competitive smartphone market, Amazon stumbled with the FireFly, failure of which caused the tech giant to take a dent on its money and resources.

So what was wrong with Firefly?

It was a smartphone which had comparable features in terms of the screen, memory and camera based on what the market offered.

Only the three-dimensional effect or graphics on certain apps and an application (called the Firefly) which let the shoppers identify over a 100 million products from physical stores and buy them online- set this phone apart. The underlying motive of this phone was to redirect consumer shopping traffic towards Amazon’s online store.

However, in crowded space dominated by Apple and Android devices- being ‘adequate’ simply did not cut it (especially when the phone is launched 6-7 years after the first iPhone and Android phones were introduced in the market).

To top it up, a price point of $200 did not justify the ‘overly neutral’ phone. At the end of it all, Amazon was left with $83 million worth of Fire phones that did not sell and back in 2014 (Q3)- Amazon declared a loss of $437million out of which $170million was accredited to the Fire phone.

amazon_firefly_-_museum_of_failure

Nokia- NGage

By 1998, Nokia was a world leader in the mobile phone market however in an attempt to stay true to its vision of ‘storied capacity for transforming and developing new technologies while adapting to changing market trends’– N-Gage was launched in 2000.

During that time people carried mobile phones and handheld gaming consoles separately, however Nokia came up with the idea of combining the two devices into a single unit. N-Gage was launched in 2003.

The underlying idea was to compete with portable gaming consoles like Game Boy Advance (GBA) and lure gamers away while allowing multiplayer gaming experience via Bluetooth and Internet and offering additional features like MP3 and real audio/video playback.

Reality proved otherwise, commercially N-Gage was a disaster and GBA outsold N-Gage by a ratio of 100:1 at the time of their launch.

Why did the product fail?

Because it was a mediocre gaming console and was not a very good phone either.

N-Gage was not designed as a very smart device: it had to be disassembled to change games, users had to remove the cover and the battery because the game slot was affixed in such a manner, to take calls people had to tilt the phone sideways with the thin edge against one’s head (this is how N-Gage became known as the Taco phone- imagine a D-shaped device titled against your head while you answered a call!).

Nokia made an attempt to re-launch the N-Gage QD in 2004 after fixing some of the issues, but the device was no match against Nintendo.

Sales were embarrassingly low and by 2005, Nokia decided to discontinue N-Gage for good.

nokia-ngage-museum-of-failure

Block Buster: the world before NetFlix

Reed Hastings- founder of Netflix, back in 2000 flew to Dallas to propose a partnership to Blockbuster’s CEO- John Antioco.

The proposal was that Netflix (a fledging brand at that time) would run Blockbuster’s brand online and Blockbuster would promote Netflix in its stores.

The outcome of that meeting was Hastings got laughed out of the room.

Fast forward a couple of years, Blockbuster declared bankruptcy in 2010 while Netflix is worth over $28billion today.

Blockbuster was a market leader of video rental industry with strong retail presence, efficient operations, loyal customers and hefty marketing budgets. It earned a major share of its revenue by charging its customers late fees (this meant the company’s profits became dependent on penalizing its users).

However, Netflix capitalized on absence of retail locations which gave it more room to offer greater consumer choice by operating at lower costs and instead of offering rentals- the company offered subscriptions which made late fees unnecessary.

While Netflix led the disruptive industry innovation by aggressively pursuing online video streaming content instead of buying DVDs the traditional way in 2007, Blockbuster failed to adapt to the changing market trend.

It was after all a retail-video rental company and the leadership at that time was not comfortable adopting to the ‘new technology’. By 2011, Netflix’s subscriber base had reached 24.4 million people and keeping in mind a minimum subscriber fee of $7.99/month- that translated into $200 million in gross revenue which the company was making EVERY MONTH!

Judging by the numbers, Blockbuster tried launching several projects to copy and compete with Netflix however, it was too late because the customer base had already switched to a better, more viable and consumer friendly alternative.

Clearly, failing to adapt is setting up to fail!

blockbuster_-_museum_of_failure

So in the nutshell what has the Musuem of Failure taught us?

Success stories are always one-dimensional with a monotonous drone about the wonders of success and its glories. It’s the failing part that intrigues the people the most and when we see great Companies coming up with such flop ideas in the museum of failure we have a good laugh by questioning their sanity but we also realize that these failures actually made them the most successful

Needless to say planning a trip to Museum of Failure with your kids will be a great learning experience while being entertaining at the same time. It will encourage the kids to have fun at the same time for you to have conversations with them to encourage them to get more failure-friendly.

Happy Touring!




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