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9个因过于超前而失败的创业理念

9个因过于超前而失败的创业理念

Erin Griffith 2015年04月02日
在科技行业,唯一比犯错还严重的,就是过于超前。忆往昔,诸如当日送达、智能手表、团购网站、垂直电商、数字货币和虚拟现实设备这类很好的创业理念,因过于超前而宣告失败。现如今,在足够大的网络用户群体,以及发达便捷的物流系统的支撑下,这些理念重新焕发生机。

    风险投资家非常爱说一些经验之谈,甚至整个创业界都流行着一些金科玉律。最经典的莫过于一个关于创业时机的经验之谈:“唯一比犯错更严重的就是过于超前。”因创业理念太超前而失败的例子简直数不胜数。不过自从“.com”泡沫破裂后,许多当年失败得一塌糊涂的点子,又以其它形式重新焕发了青春,成为生机勃勃的企业。

    这些创业理念之所以成功复苏,也因为它们现在具备了一些关键的要素。首先来了解一串简单的数字:2000年,美国只有43%的人使用互联网。如今美国网民人数已占总人口的86%,移动互联网用户更是达到美国总人口的一半以上。也就是说,网络创业公司的受众群体要比以往大得多。

    另外,联邦快递和UPS等物流网络也比90年代末更发达、更高效、价格更低。最后,随着云计算和开源软件的兴起,网络创业的成本从几百万美元减少到几千美元甚至更低。这大大降低了创业的风险,也就意味着早期阶段的创业失败不会导致投资人损失数百万美金。

    以下是一些当年因过于超前而失败的例子。

    Venture investors are fond of their truisms, to the point that the startup world is riddled with clichés. But few cut deeper than the one about timing: “The only thing worse than being wrong is being early.” It’s impossible to count the number of startups which failed because the world wasn’t ready for them yet. Since the dotcom bubble, many of the era’s biggest flops have been revived in different forms to become viable businesses.

    Today’s revivals have a few key things going for them this time around. For starters, it’s a matter of simple numbers: In 2000, only 43% of Americans were using the Internet. Today, 86% of the country is online and more than half of the population carries the Internet around in their pocket. The addressable audience for a Web startup is much larger.

    Further, logistics networks from the likes of FedEx FDX -0.54% and UPS UPS -0.05% are more developed, more efficient, and more cost-effective than they were in the late 1990s. Lastly, thanks to cloud computing and open source software, the cost of starting up has shrunk from millions of dollars to hundreds of thousands or less. This lowers the stakes for starting a business, which means early-stage failures aren’t costing investors millions.

    Below, several good ideas which were simply ahead of their time.

    当日送达

    Uber已经把智能手机变成了生活的遥控器。只要按个按钮,你想要的几乎任何东西都可以送到家门——比如酒水、美甲、鲜花乃至大麻。亚马逊和谷歌现在也提供了当日送达服务,包括Uber在内的不计其数的创业公司紧随其后。

    最早提供同日送达服务的,是Web 1.0时代的知名网站Kozmo.com和Webvan。但Kozmo.com在“.com”泡沫破裂时损失了数亿美元,Webvan更是让投资人的10多亿美金打了水漂。失败的原因在于,他们的服务不赚钱。Kozmo.com的联合创始人如今又通过MaxDelivery.com让这个理念起死回生,虽然MaxDelivery的用户群只有不到10万人,但从2005年至今,它却能依赖自身盈利实现缓慢而稳定的增长,并且能养活130名员工。如今有这么多创业公司在做当日送达服务,足以证明这个点子并不坏,只是当时时机未到。

    Same-day delivery

    Uber has turned smartphones into remote controls for life. Press a button and just about anything you want will show up—booze, groceries, manicures, flowers, even weed. Amazon AMZN 0.87% and Google GOOG -1.23% now offer same-day delivery, with countless startup—including Uber—hot on their heels.

    Same-day delivery was the premise of famous Web 1.0 blow-ups Kozmo.com and Webvan. Kozmo.com lost hundreds of millions in value in the dotcom crash; Webvan lost over a billion in investor money. They failed because they didn’t make money on their services. Today, Kozmo.com’s co-founder has revived the idea with MaxDelivery.com which has a small customer base of under 100,000, but has grown slowly and steadily since 2005 on its own profits, supporting a staff of 130. The recent influx of new startups offering anything you want on-demand proves that the idea wasn’t bad, but the timing was.

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