David Cummings on Startups

Post Mortem on a Failed Product

Just over two years ago, at the beginning of 2008, we set out to build a web content management system with community functionality infused throughout — eCrowds. The idea was that companies would need a solution for facilitating product communities with the following functionality:

We were solving the traditional challenges brought on by disparate silos of data with separate user authentication systems and inconsistent interfaces/template designs. 2008 was spent building the product and we launched it for our own internal customer success communities after nine months of development. It was a failure.

Here are some of our lessons learned:

So, to summarize, I recommend getting something simple into the hands of prospects quickly, picking out a narrow niche and doing it well before going broad, thinking through the economies of customer acquisition costs relative to the revenue generated, and making sure the app always runs fast.

What else? What are some other lessons you’ve learned from a failed product?