Year In Review: The Biggest Tech Failure In 2012

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.

About the author

— Jeff Weisbein

Jeff is the founder & CEO of BestTechie. He has over 10 years of experience working with technology and building businesses. He loves to travel and listen to music.

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  1. Ha Ha Ha. Color? The author, Jeff Wiesbien, has no sense of perspective. But maybe he has some personal beef with Color?

    What about the tech failures of Microsoft (Windows 8), Nokia (Windows Phone 8), and RIM? Now these are failures – earth shaking and industry changing.

    1. I don’t necessarily think we can call Microsoft and Nokia the biggest failures of 2012. First, Microsoft is still doing well financially and some of its divisions are doing extremely well. When it comes Windows 8 — we did cover all the news relating to that and its poor sales (including the Surface RT), you may also want check out our post titled Microsoft’s Month from Hell. However, being that Windows 8 came out at the end of October, it’s tough to call it a failure at this point in time — it could very well turn out to be successful in the long-run.

      As for Nokia, are they in a bad spot? Sure, but their Nokia Lumia phones look promising and were apparently selling pretty decently last I checked (we have coverage of that too). I wouldn’t say they are the biggest failure of 2012 either.

      In terms of RIM, again similarly to Nokia, they are in a bad spot — in fact, probably a worst spot than Nokia. However, I’m not going to say they were biggest failure of 2012 when they have their new OS coming out in 2013 that they believe will help them turn it around. If anything, I’d hold off on counting RIM out (and calling them the biggest tech failure) until 2013 is over.

      So yeah, it definitely goes to Color and the circus that went along with the company.

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