Revolutionary Ideas Are Not Necessarily a Reason For Success
Startups, Struggles, and Scrambles: Revolutionary ideas are not necessarily a reason for success.
Welcome to the first part of the article series: Startups, Struggles, and Scrambles. In this series of articles, we try to address the serious problems of startups, to which unfortunately few people pay attention. Earlier in an article (Three, the Biggest Marketing Mistakes Startup Make), I had mentioned that, unfortunately, the startup field is engaged with many misconceptions that severely damage the body of startups around the world.
The startup environment changing into a cult has made founders focus on trivial issues that seem just cool instead of focusing on the important ones. I have not seen anyone saying that “this is my idea to produce this product, but is anyone buying it?” Instead, everyone says “we made this product. Where to start growth hacking?!”
It has been a long time since the cult startups dominated this ecosystem. However, have you ever wondered what the benefit was? Are these new mendacious terms such as growth hacking and lean startup and all the articles that have been written and all the conferences that have been held a reason to reduce the failure rate of startups? Has the success of today’s startups, which now do something like growth hacking, increased since the day no one even heard of such a term? I’m afraid not!
It does not matter how many times a person changes the name of a thing. As long as he does a permanent job in a way that has been proven to be fruitless in the hope of a different outcome, he will be nothing more than a lunatic.
We spoke of madness, and I remembered the mentors and the unreasonable trust that the founders had in anyone who introduced himself as a mentor! Unfortunately, a vast majority of mentors know as much about marketing as their listeners and audiences do about marketing and market. It has happened many times that I have talked to founders from different countries, and they have been convinced by their mentors that startups do not need things like market research, strategy, and plans! But if you tell them to sit behind a car that does not have a steering wheel, it is not possible for them to give in to this stupidity. Market research, strategy, and plan are like your car steering wheel.
It has happened a lot that many have entered the market not only with a revolutionary and pure idea but also with a good product. But even these are not a reason to prevent their defeat. as a matter of fact, they promoted their product with the help of marketing as much as possible, but even that could not prevent their collapse. Marketing without credible marketing research is like shooting in the dark. The chances of hitting the target are so low that even hoping for a chance to hit it is insane. A few days ago, I watched a video by a famous startup figure in Germany talking about the technological revolution and its impact on the market. Among his examples, he mentioned one of Moley Robotics products that occupied my mind. This new product, which has not yet reached the final stage, is two robotic arms that can be installed in kitchens, and thus a 24-hour chef will be present in the kitchens.
Chef Robot! Hum, exciting idea! However, while I was watching the video, I asked myself a question: When will these cooking robots become widespread? I do not know when, how, or whether it will spread at all, but the fact is that there are many examples of products with revolutionary ideas that have never been realized, or at least as long as their creators were in the game. Such products never considered two critical factors:
Here, however, I will share with you three examples of revolutionary products that emerged without market research and disappeared after a while. Once again, the non-incoming mentor said marketing research is not necessary for startups. Give them these three examples!
Electronic kick scooter
The first electronic kick scooter, or motorized scooter, more commonly known as the e-scooter today, was invented not in the 21st century but in the early 19th century by Arthur Hugo Cecil Gibson. The idea was a revolutionary product. Now kick scooters move like motorcycles without the need to use energy. They named it Autoped: a pleasant, memorable, and unique name. But today, few people have heard of Autoped. Autoped never became an international business and a huge corporation like any other clamorous business today. In fact, Autoped perished.
Recently, the e-scooter market is growing again. Some are trying to make their products smaller every day, and some are trying to get somewhere by renting them. However, it took almost 200 years for people to turn their attention to e-scooters. You must ask why?
At that time, a newspaper wrote that “no one would walk with Autoped anymore.” Guess what? The part that said no one would walk anymore was right, but the reason was not Autoped but fast food and the Internet, which changed the way of people’s lives years later! It took two hundred years so that other products change our social norms. The amount of effort and activity of the people two hundred years ago is not comparable to us. In a nutshell, people at the time were not lazy enough to ride an Autoped.
It’s worth mentioning that I do not think e-scooter will reach anywhere in the future. Anyhow, not only many people cannot ride one of these products due to being overweight, but also their children belong to the indoor generation!
Although Autoped appeared in the right place, it entered the market at the wrong time.
Although video calling has only recently become prevalent, it was first created in 1936. Thirty years later, At&T embarked on large, long-term projects, focusing on video calling services until around 2000. However, video calling was never welcomed at the time. Aside from the fact that video calling required telephones that were practically connected to a large television set, the cost of video calling services was staggering.
After 2000, as the Internet became more widespread, Sorenson Vision introduced new types of video calling services. It did not take long for telecommunications and electronics companies to move in that direction. This time, video calling was not as expensive as before. The equipment needed to make another video call was not as large as before, and thanks to the Internet, consumers could easily communicate with others visually. The post-2000 period also failed. You might ask why?
Only with the advancement and technology of technology have companies realized that people are less interested in making video calls. The meaning of privacy for consumers was very different. Communities were much more formal than they are today, and no one was willing to go an official video call in pajamas. Even if the COVID-19 pandemic occurred that year, few would be willing to accept the video calls.
Until a few years ago, only the homeless wore pants full of holes and had straggly hair, but today these are fashionable! Although the fashion of torn clothes does not necessarily mean a change in society’s norms, the normalization and acceptance of a manner in different social strata probably indicates a change in social norms.
It should also not be forgotten that technology itself plays a vital role in changing social norms. The most obvious is the alteration of regular phones into smartphones. What an adventure!
Those early big phones that had the option to make video calls are utterly inefficient because smartwatches are serving the same purpose, of course, besides many other things they do!
Although the first video service was introduced in 1936, it took years for it to become commonplace. Today, even Instagram, which has nothing to do with telecommunication, offers video calling. Not only making a video call via Instagram is easy, but its also completely free!
Paper tissues are one of the most common Fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) available to consumers today. Before the invention of paper tissues, people had a piece of cloth in their pockets. They dried the sweat on their foreheads and cleaned their nose with the same handkerchief! The only thing that was not observed at that time was health!
You probably want to thank Kleenex for inventing the first paper tissues; however, you’d better wait a minute. The first paper tissues were made not in 1924 by Kleenex but in 1894 by Gottlob Krum! However, you might be asking why today, instead of telling someone to give me a tissue, they say give me a Kleenex and not a Gottlob Krum. The reason is simple! Bad name? No! Bad place!
Gottlob Krum introduced the first paper tissues in Schwaben, Germany. The company believed that this revolutionary product could reduce contagious diseases, and of course, they were right. The only problem was that the people of Germany, especially the people of that city, were renowned for being economical. At that time, discarding napkins, after being used, was not in line with their frugality trait; therefore, it was not welcomed!
Years later, the same product was released in the United States and was immediately welcomed. Apparently, sometimes having an extravagant culture can also be helpful!
More interestingly, at the same time, when Kleenex patented the paper tissue in the United States, the Tempo-Taschentuch was patented as an invention in Germany. To this day, there are very few Germans who, instead of Tempo, say “Do you have a Kleenex?”
Tempo appeared just a few years after Gottlob Krum, not far from Schwaben, but had a different fate. Do you know what the more interesting point is? Ironically, Germans today use paper tissues a little too much!
Electric scooters, video calls, and paper tissues were all three revolutionary ideas, but what is important is that their early inventors were never able to lead the market. Do not underestimate the importance of marketing! Remember that only with the help of market research and marketing can this critical question be answered:
What products must be introduced to the market, in what place, when, and how?