The tale of this story actually starts in March 2011, when Color launched its app to the world along with the announcement that the company had raised a staggering $41 million prior to the launch. Color’s app was supposed to reinvent photo sharing, it was supposed to be as big a deal as Google, it was supposed to be a huge success.
It was none of those things, as it turns out. In fact, it was a big failure.
Right from the get-go, the company faced tremendous difficulties. The app launched, but people weren’t talking about the app all that much, instead all people were talking about was the massive round of funding the company raised — that $41 million really made headlines. And when they did talk about the app, it wasn’t because they were praising it, but rather because how terrible it was.
The focus was all wrong, and it led to the company’s failure. In October 2012, news broke that Bill Nguyen, the company’s remaining co-founder and CEO was no longer involved with Color’s day to day operations and that he had been vacationing instead of trying to reinvent the company. It was at this point that it appeared the writing was on the wall, only to be confirmed later that month, when Color announced it was shutting down.
Bill Nguyen should take a lot of the blame for this failure, he reportedly refused to acknowledge the problems and had put the blinders on when it came to the media and the way it reported on his company. This is because to Nguyen, what mattered most when he launched his first tech company was the size of your Series A, because customers and users could be bought. Of course, that isn’t the case anymore, now launching something is all about having the best possible product, because web users are smarter now than ever before and they cannot be bought.
I’ve said this before, but I’ll say it again. The best founders and CEO’s surround themselves with best people, actively listen to them, and utilize that feedback in one way or another. Apparently, it seems like Bill thought he knew better than everyone else — and he was wrong.
This is why Color is the biggest tech failure of 2012.