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Home > Entrepreneurship, My Thoughts, Strategy, Venture Capital > Killing the Wave- What entrepreneurs can learn from it?

Killing the Wave- What entrepreneurs can learn from it?


A couple of months back Google decided to start what was labelled ‘Spring Cleaning’ in the business circles. They killed several of the Google products which had been moving very sluggish.  Continuing the ‘clean-up’ Google has decided to kill a few more of their products.

One of the most important products to be killed is Google Wave. Remember about two years ago when the ‘Wave’ was launched? It was hailed as one of the best products in communication till date- the product that promised to dramatically change the way we communicate to each other on the internet. The Google Wave membership was through invitation and I still remember how people were scrambling to get one. Today, it is being buried.

I can imagine how meticulously the Google Wave team would have worked on the plan. How each of the components of the initiative would have been closely scrutinized by one of the best minds in the industry.  How multiple iterations would have taken place to incorporate the feedback to improve the product. All these efforts to create a product which the customers did not like!

I will not call it a failure. Infact, I would call the killing of Google Wave a right step. Sometimes the entrepreneur is so obsessed with his idea, he does not feel the requirement of any change. Even if the idea is not succeeding, the entrepreneur will keep doing the same old things and expect a different result.  The obsession with the idea combined with the guilt of abandoning ‘my baby’ keeps the entrepreneur running a loss making venture and  ultimately bleeding to death.

I do not say that one should abandon the project as soon as you start making losses. Give a tough fight, explore all the options. Who knows what might work? Take the example of Groupon. It started as “The Point”. But the ideas was so vague that it did not achieve much success. The founders had burnt all the money received in funding and were bleeding to death when they took the decision to pull the plug and ‘killed their own baby’. The founders realized that one of the important features of the ‘The Point’- The Tipping Point, worked very well and could be used to create another business idea that would in future become -Groupon.

There is nothing wrong in killing the initiative that you started. Sometimes its better to step back and live for another day’s fight than bleed to death. In the same breath, it is very important to learn lessons from the failure and move on.

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