“What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?”
I was asked this question for an interview with Ideamensch, an online community of people with ideas that inspire action among others in their communities. My response was this:
“We started a telemedicine company about ten years ago. While the idea was right, the timing of the service was not. Timing is everything. I used the experience to continue honing my knowledge of the field, recognizing the inevitable impact at some later date.”
Although our telehealth venture did not succeed at the time, I took it in stride because plenty of other companies experience failures due to timing as well.
The Sega Dreamcast
Released in 1999, Sega’s Dreamcast was a video game console ahead of its time. As the first company to capitalize on the internet for gameplay, Sega’s Dreamcast was hyped to be one of the most innovative video game consoles of all time. However, the timing of the Dreamcast’s release was its ultimate downfall.
Although access to the internet for interactive online gameplay was a good idea in theory, the internet was still a new concept in the commercialized market. Therefore, the broadband connection required for the Dreamcast was not up to par and the quality of the gameplay suffered.
Released in 2008, the TwitterPeek handheld device was meant to do one thing and one thing only: check your Twitter feed. With Twitter’s launch in 2006, TwitterPeek would have been a successful gadget if it was released at the same time. However, the launch of Apple’s all-in-one iPhone the year prior made the device obsolete. Although the iPhone didn’t become popular until the 2010s, there was still a market for the TwitterPeek to sell — but it was too little too late.
Microsoft SPOT Watch
Before the Apple Watch came onto the tech scene, Microsoft had its shot at wearable technology with its SPOT watch.
When it first hit the market in 2004, Microsoft’s watch used FM waves to beam text messages, stock reports, weather forecasts, news and more directly to the watch. Since this was a time without Wi-Fi, this meant that users could only receive information. This one-way method of exchanging information also wasn’t compatible with any other device, so the watch functioned as a standalone piece of technology.
Considering cellular broadband networks were getting off the ground, few people wanted a watch that could only receive data through FM channels.
The lesson I have learned? My temporary setback didn’t stop me from pursuing my passion for disruption of the healthcare industry. Since then, I have helped create additional companies that are changing the healthcare landscape by making healthcare more affordable and easier to access. For more information about my healthcare business ventures, visit my website here.