In response to this latest turn of events, Om Malik has written a very thorough analysis of what happened and why the company never took off. If you are a tech geek like me, I’d definitely recommend you read his post in its entirety. As usual, it is a thoughtful piece, and one with which I generally agree.
That being said, I tend to think that Joost failed for far simpler reasons than he outlines. Yes, they got big too fast. Yes, they had organizational issues. And yes, they were spread out across many geographic locations. But the bottom line? They failed because they did not deliver a compelling customer experience.
Amongst all of the reasons for Joost’s failure that Om outlines, the most important are the two he refers to as “client vs. browser” and “big media dis-connect”. In other words, they had a crappy product filled with really crappy content. Not a good recipe for success.
Yes, they eventually added some better content, and yes, they eventually launched a web-based experience, but that was long after the early adopters had tested out the product only to find a big, heavy download filled with craptastic video programming. Not a good strategy to get evangelists singing your praises to the world!
For me this story hammers home two very important tenets that every consumer-facing technology company should hold dear:
- Always have a relentless focus on delivering simple, kick-ass product experiences that will wow your customers
- Celebrity founders, industry buzz, and big, famous partners are overrated, and they will not compensate for a poor user experience