Perhaps because we were so slow to jump on the "dot-com" bandwagon, New Zealand
has had few high-profile failures of the boo.com variety.
But even our massive inertia isn't protecting us from bearing the burden of
questionable decisions and unreasonable expectations -- as the recent bad
news from Flying Pig shows.
And now, after flushing nearly $3 million down the toilet while trying to
become an Internet success story,
e-Force has admitted that
it got it wrong.
So what did e-Force do wrong?
Hell, their "portal" site is quite nice. It has lots of engaging content
and a real community spirit. In fact I can find little to criticise (except
maybe a few broken links -- but who an I to talk?)
The problem is not in the concept, nor the implementation -- its
demise appears to be the result of a complete lack of solid market research.
Anyone who was actively involved in the Internet at the time eForce chose
to reinvent itself as an online company could have told them that the market
simply wasn't large enough to support such a venture -- and probably wouldn't
reach this critical mass for at least four or five years.
I fear that, once again, a group of people with wallets bigger than their
brains have simply put aside their normal, rational, business thinking and
jumped on something which looked like it was a runaway train to the Internet
The really sad thing is that the $3 million which has disappeared into this
ill-researched venture could have probably been put to much better use by
those small startups who have done their homework and are trying to attract
investor interest for really viable new-economy ventures based on sound
research and solid business models.
Why Don't They?
From Aardvark's "Why don't they do that?" department...
While I was in Singapore I realised how amazing it was that cellphone
manufacturers seem to have overlooked an incredibly powerful and (at least to
me) useful feature in their little bits of ear-jewelry.
I'm talking about the ability for cellphones to perform a close-range
wireless exchange of virtual business cards.
How many times have you met someone and discovered that you're out of business
cards -- or perhaps they are? The hassle of writing down their details or
trying to remember their name is a royal pain.
I know that some PDAs come with an infra-red data-download facility which allows this
kind of virtual business card exchange -- but I can't see people opening their
briefcases and dragging out their Palm Pilot every time they shake hands with
someone they don't know. How much better it would be to simply program your
phone with your virtual details (including a picture perhaps) and, before an
important meeting, set it to automatically exchange this data with other
phones in the room. After (say) 10 minutes it would then stop collecting data
so that you don't end up accumulating megabytes of useless data as you walk down
a crowded street.
When you get back to your PC or PDA you could simply download the data and, if you're
an old dead tree fan, even print them out for your Rolodex.
Come on Ericson, Nokia, Motorola and the rest -- let's have some really
practical functionality before you get too carried away with WAP and the like!
What do you think? Is this a good idea? Are there already phones with this
capability that I simply don't know of? Have your say.
Aardvark Weekly, Have You Got Yours?
Oops... a bit of a slip-up on the email front meant that the copies of the
first weekly didn't make it past my mailing list yesterday. They'll be going out
today -- sorry.
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