Over the last few months, many of the Entrepreneurs we have spoken to have echoed the same points; ‘that there is no harm in failing, because you learn from your mistakes, but work out that you are failing quickly and move on’
So to celebrate that mindset; the spirit of trying and sometimes failing, we wanted to highlight a few big mistakes that some well known inventors, and corporate brands have made… (I argued that G-String pants for Men, should have been included – who thought of that?)
In no particular order, and the list really could go on and on, here are just a few that made our list:
Lets go back to the beginning of the 20th Century (not in a time machine – silly)
1912, the year that the motorised Movie Camera was invented. A wonderful invention and without the handheld Video camera, we would not have all the fun we do watching youtube and outtakes TV. However there was nothing fun about the Parachute Jacket and also what happened in 1912 when Franz Reichelt decided to film his ‘big day’. Franz decided to test the parachute jacket, as an alternative to the traditional Parachete, by jumping off the Eiffel Tower. Nice idea. He died.
Who can forget the wonderful Invention of Smell O Vision! First smelt during the 1960’s film Scent of
Mystery the invention went on to transform how we watched and ‘smelt’ the movies, right in front of our eyes. Just remember the wonderful aroma that rose from your Cinema chair as you watched the Oscar-winning animation Ratatouille, the film about a Rat who wanted to be a Chef. Imagine if Smell o Vision had not been invented….Well okay….the reality is that Smell O Vision, first launched in 1960 in conjunction with the film Scent of Mystery, went on to feature in well….only…..1 film.
Sometimes a product’s biggest failings is the mindset of its ‘buying’ customers. A point that Coca Cola should have taken into account when they came up with the idea to re-brand Coca Cola as ‘New Coke’ in 1985. During Blind Fold tests the ‘New Coke’ came back with flowing results, and with a sweeter taste, the new brand was set to build an even bigger empire for Coca Cola in the Coke market. But it didn’t. Sometimes, even if tests prove you otherwise, there is no point in
changing a formula that works. Some blame the ‘taste test’ that concentrated on just a sip of the drink, and many argued that based on one sip it was nicer, but over a whole glass it was just ‘too sweet’. Other suggest that the mindset of a 99-year-old buying public was not taken into account and that customer did not appreciate the new taste being forced onto them. However as bitter the taste must have been for the Senior Execs at Coca Cola, the classic brand was quickly reintroduced and ‘new coke’ fazed out. Which again goes back to the point we made at the start, which is, if something is failing, work out quickly that it is failing, and move on!
I loved the Lawnmower Man (not literally, but as a film). Released in 1992, it was a cult classic. Please feel free to take a look at the trailer here. “It’s
the Future Man” I could imagine people saying, and aged 13, I imagined that we would all be using Virtual Reality Machines, by the time I was 16!! This must have been what the Senior Execs at Nintendo thought when they brought out the Nintendo Virtual Boy, the big step forward in gaming, back in 1995. But the ‘reality’ was that the console was heavy, expensive for its time, the graphics were poor and it played even worse. Worse still, Nintendo only bothered to bring out 14 games and it died a death within 6 months. Good news, is that Lawnmower Man 2 was released in 1996 to make us all feel a little better. The bad news is that unlike the original, it sucked.
But we have to end with the Worst idea that should never had worked….but DID! In 1975 Gary Dahl was an Advertising Executive from the USA, who came up with the wackiest idea for a Pet. You will never guess it, but Gary invented the Pet Rock.
Whether or not the customers who bought it were ‘stoned’ at the time (it was the 1970’s Man), Gary was able, within 6 months to become a Millionaire, by simply boxing and marketing the ‘Rock’ as the best pet you can ever have. The fad still exists and the cult of Pet Rock can still be found on the internet!!
For that reason, if you have a crazy idea and you really believe it will work, then why not go for it. You never know you could be the next Gary Dahl!!