I get excited about new technology and new business ideas with breathless enthusiasm. But I’m not always right. In fact, Clark’s Graveyard compiles all the ideas I’ve loved that were losers in the marketplace.
Back to 1990s, I was gaga about a service called Replay TV. This company essentially developed the idea of DVRs. When I first told my staffers about Replay TV during a pre-show planning meeting, they looked at me like I was crazy. Today DVRs are commonplace in our lives and allow people to time-shift and skip commercials at great hazard to the advertising industry.
More recently, I was a fan of a service called Dash. Dash came up with the idea of using a network of Internet-enabled GPS systems to deliver real-time traffic updates compiled from the units in users’ cars.
Dash was ahead of its time, but the business model didn’t work, in part because service was $15/month. Now on my smart phone, I have a Google app that’s basically a free version of what Dash did for $15/month. As people keep using Android phones, we’ll soon have the ability to know traffic in even little hamlets.
There used to be something called “first mover advantage” in business, where whoever made an innovation first usually dominated the field. But today that’s no longer true. Recently, Yahoo laid off a ton of people. Remember when they were the biggest, baddest dude in the Internet world? And before Yahoo, remember AOL? They were dominant, arrogant and feared. Today, however, they’re gasping for life.
In business, you have to stay ahead of the curve and reinvent yourself all the time. Even if somebody else reaches the goal first, there’s no reason you can’t develop an idea bigger, better or cheaper than them.