Why Do Tech Products Fail?

Why Do Tech Products Fail?

Each year, about 30,000 products are produced and introduced to the public. The founders of these products wait anxiously, hoping that their product will be one of the 1,500 products that do not fail. That’s right, 95% of products that are introduced to the public every single year, end in failure. There are many reasons why this failure occurs in so many companies. We’ve chosen six of the most influential factors that can lead to a potential failure in a new product. When all of these factors are executed correctly, your company will have a much larger chance of having a successful outcome.

Building a new product is a journey full of stress, excitement, and commitment; however with the right tools, creating a product that succeeds in today’s society is very possible. It’s important to know who is responsible for creating this product, in most cases it would be the founder and the right team.

1. Choosing the Right Team

As many people say, you are the product of the five people you spend the most time with even at work! When it comes to creating a new product and introducing it to the public, you want to pick the very best people to surround yourself with.

Not only is it important that these people are intelligent, but also that they understand your industry the same way you do, and they exude the same passion for success as you.

Nike’s rumored Fuelband, similar to a Fitbit like technology, failed because of this exact reason. According to reports, around 80% of the employees who worked on the project ended up being fired. Since the team was not cohesive and were not passionate about the project, the product failed altogether.

2. Timing

The timing you choose to launch your product is one of the most crucial factors because you should be very strategic about your launch date to optimize the market acceptance and excitement around it. Many companies lack the ability to time out the launch of their products correctly, and other companies have mastered this art.

For example, Facebook was one of the most perfectly timed products to be launched. People were finally getting comfortable displaying their personal life on the internet with the explosive growth of Myspace, Hi5, and Friendster like applications. Facebook seized this opportunity and launched their product with a fresh new take on community building and becoming one of the most successful social media platforms to date. 

Another success story is the iPad. Apple chose the best possible time to launch the iPad commercially. There were other companies who had attempted to create tablets and bring them into the market before the iPad such as Microsoft’s touch input tablet. However, at that time, people were not yet comfortable with multiple devices. When the iPad came out, people were warming up to the idea of having more than just a phone or a computer and invested their money into buying an iPad. Of course, iPad was also created with simplicity in mind. Apple knew how to create such a simple yet sleek product that even kids under the age of seven could get hooked on it.

3. Not Having A Defined Product

It’s important to know exactly what your product is, and define it compared to products that may be similar to it. In today’s market, many products end up being very similar to one another and because of that many end up failing. It’s important that your product distinguishes itself from others in the same market. 

Facebook failed at this when they introduced the Facebook phone. This was evident as soon as its carrier AT&T dropped the price of the phone from $99 to 99 cents. The phone was designed to mirror the entire user experience of your Facebook profile. This was a disaster because people didn’t see the benefit of buying this phone when they could just download the Facebook application on a far superior phone.

In this case, Facebook did not have a distinguished product and they felt the need to expand beyond their already successful product in a market that didn’t work for them.


4. Ever Changing Product Spec

It takes time for people to adapt to change. In many cases, they cannot handle a brand new product thrown at them with hundreds of new features on it, which they are expected to learn. When creating a new product, it’s important to remember this because without doing so, there is a great chance that your product will be one of the 95%.

Apple is a company that does a great job of recognizing this with their line of iPhone products. Each time the company introduces a new iPhone, they only add one or two big features to the phone, so that the user feels comfortable using the product and only has to adapt to minimal changes. For example, with the iPhone X, they added facial recognition along with a few other minor features and kept almost everything else the same, to allow their users to feel comfortable when using the product. Apple has a great ability to understand that people want to adapt to small increments of change and because of this, they have been very successful with each new iPhone launched.

5. Lack of Management and Ownership

Management plays a key role in a product’s ability to be successful. The product manager launching this product must be confident, smart, and passionate about the product, and project that attitudes onto the rest of the employees working on it. The management culture can have a big impact on the work ethic and passion of employees who work for them every day. Without strong management, a product and even the entire company could result in immediate failure.

An example of this was the Barnes and Noble Nook from 2009. This product was a major failure because people could not go beyond the idea that Barnes and Noble was no longer a destination for what their following really wanted, paper books. In many cases, people blamed the management for this failure, because they did not invest in the company’s evolving brand enough in order to influence the perception of the Nook to it’s following. Because of this inadequate marketing strategy, the Nook failed, and the Amazon Kindle became one of the most successful products of the year.

  1. Not Knowing Who the Product Is Made For

Knowing your audience and your target demographic is another important factor that can make or break your product once it is launched. It is important to understand their interests, backgrounds, and all socio-economic information to make sure that the product is attractive to that audience.

A product that failed because they weren’t aware of their audience and who they were making the product for was Yik Yak. Yik Yak was once valued at about 400 million dollars. However, the company was not aware of who their application was going to be made for and it ended up being the perfect application to enhance cyberbullying throughout the school system. The product could have done better if it had been introduced to a better-targeted audience. The company ended up selling for $1 million, a value decrease of 400%.

We hope that you can learn from these companies’ mistakes or successes when launching their products. It’s important to do better market research throughout the process of creating your product and creating small prototypes, getting people’s feedback, and then launching. Getting early feedback from users if the most important step in building a successful product. As shown through multiple examples, there are certain things that a founder and their company must consider when they decide to take their product public. The most important of these is being able to choose the right team, the timing, having a defined product, taking the ever-changing product into consideration, having a strong management or ownership, and knowing who your product is made for. When these things are taken into consideration, you have a much better chance of your product becoming successful.

This article was written by SYNERGY Consulting. SYNERGY works with early-stage founders and mid-sized companies to build, launch, and grow their innovations. If you’re working on launching your next big idea, contact our team today at http://www.synergyconsulting.us.

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5 Founders and Their Stories You May Not Know About

5 Founders and Their Stories You May Not Know About

Everyone knows the famous names behind the world’s biggest companies like Steve Jobs, Elon Musk, Travis Kalanick, and many more. Meet Jan Koum, David Karp, Chet Pipkin, Ryan Smith, and Zhou Qunfei. These are the names of the wealthiest tech founders around the world.

Jan Koum


(Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)

Jan Koum is the CEO and Founder of WhatsApp. WhatsApp is a free messenger app for smartphones that was created by Koum. Now 37, Koum came from Ukraine at the tender age of 16 with his family who struggled to survive. The family lived off of food stamps in California before Facebook turned him into a billionaire. Here is a brief timeline of Jan Koum’s life. At age 16 he worked as a janitor and at age 18 is when he learned to code. He started college shortly after at 19 but quickly dropped out. At 21 he was employed by Yahoo and by age 30 he quit Yahoo. Fun Fact: Yahoo invested $250,000 into Koum’s idea of WhatsApp. At the young age of 32, he started to develop WhatsApp which he sold at age 37 to Facebook for $19 billion. That’s 1/10 of Ukraine’s GDP. In 2009 Koum bought his first iPhone when the app store was just a few months old. He saw this as an opportunity to start a new industry; he wanted to build an app. He was later introduced to a Russian developer who helped him along the way. Today, Koum has a net worth (according to Forbes) of $6.8 billion.

David Karp

Everyone has heard of the website Tumblr but do you know the man behind it? Named the Best Young Tech Entrepreneur by Businessweek, David Karp sold Tumblr to Yahoo for $1.1 billion just last year. By the 8th grade, Karp was already designing websites for money. This made him drop out of school to be homeschooled in order to save time and work on his developments. At just 14 years old, he was interning at numerous software companies and a few years later flew to Tokyo in hopes to gain more skills; and that he did. Within the next few years after his return from Tokyo, he formed an independent consulting firm called Davidville. A few years after that, he developed Tumblr. Just a couple of weeks after launching Tumblr, there were already 75,000 users registered. Davidville had then become Tumblr Inc which was later sold to Yahoo in 2013. He is a self-taught billionaire that created a larger than life company.

Chet Pipkin

Chet Pipkin is the founder and chairman at Belkin International which is a company based in Playa Vista, California. Belkin International makes computer and smartphone accessories. Belkin didn’t just pop out of the blue, he went through many other ideas and jobs before landing on his billion dollar idea. In high school, Pipkin had thoughts of starting a limo service, opening an ice cream shop, and even becoming a Santa Claus for hire. While working his minimum wage job at a wholesale manufacturer, he started dreaming about other legendary moguls who have made a substantial impact on the world. Once he started thinking the way these entrepreneurs did, it became obvious to him that PC’s were going to take off. Pipkin founded Belkin in the garage of his family home in the early 1980s. He didn’t know anything about hardware, software, or anything tech at the time but hopped right in. Statistics show that there is an 80-90% chance that if you own a laptop, it’s a Belkin product and if you own a smartphone, there is a 95% chance it is a Belkin product. Fast Company recently named Belkin one of the world’s most innovative companies in the internet of things. Today, Belkin is a leading brand in the technology sector.

Ryan Smith

Many people may not know the online survey software, Qualtrics, but you should. Ryan Smith, a co-founder and now CEO of Qualtrics, started in his mid 20s and still runs his software for businesses and academics. When he, his brother, and his father started Qualtrics, they decided they were not going to raise any funding. He never thought that an idea that started in his garage would expand to an 80,000 square foot building with 5,000 customers (some customers being 95 out of the 100 top business schools) in just eight years. They first targeted universities and their business and their business schools to use as an academic research assistant. He attended Brigham Young University in Utah and had a goal of making sophisticated research simple. Smith still has no plan to sell the company as he turned down a $500 million offer last year. Smith’s estimated net worth according to Forbes is $1 billion and growing fast.


Zhou Qunfei

The most intriguing of the five, in my opinion, has to be Zhou Qunfei who is the world’s richest self-made woman and the founder of Lens Technology. Lens Technology engages in research, development, manufacture, and sales of lens products. It provides and sells touch panel glass covers, touch sensor modules and touch panel covers. Her biggest customers are Apple and Samsung and created the super-slim glass screens for the iPhone. She works 18 hours a day and literally lives in her office. In her office, you will find a fridge, stove, and pot stored in the corner of the room with a small bed and rack of clothes right behind her desk. Ms. Qunfei became a billionaire just 12 days after her company went public. Here’s a little back story. She quit school at 15 and moved in with her uncle’s family after both of her parents passed away. While living with her uncle, she was a migrant worker. For a brief time, she considered a government job for stability but later discarded the idea since she was lacking a diploma. It was her cousin that encouraged her to start her own business and that’s where her idea started; in her 3 bedroom apartment. She took a hands on approach and involved herself in all aspects of the company. Over the years she started a total of 11 companies. Her estimated net worth according to Forbes is $10.8 billion.

Take Away

These founders are some of the wealthiest entrepreneurs of our lifetime. Each of them has a story to influence an army of people and hopefully will shed light on many ideas in the making. They all had the drive and determination to create something bigger than themselves and were willing to do whatever it took to get to where they are today. What do all of these founders have in common you ask? Well to start, their willingness to start from scratch is motivation in itself. Passion is important. Each of these founders started from nothing and were motivated by their passion and confidence in their product. Secondly, they’re brave. In order to be successful, you need to take risks. Without taking risks, you will forever be at a standstill. You need to be able to push and have difficult conversations in order to excel. Bravery will take you a long way. Third, they’re enthusiastic for criticism both good and bad. Constructive criticism and just flat out criticism should not be the “end-all, be-all” of your company. Use the feedback to alter what you are doing to make your company more desirable to customers. Lastly, they know how to prioritize. In the beginning, it’s easier to test your idea first and then think about how you can change or build your business differently. Up until your company goes public, it’s important to prioritize and delegate so that you will be able to divide and conquer. With the right mindset, knowledge, and resources, you can achieve anything. Take a page from their book and be inspired by their stories in order to strive for greatness.

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