Author: Charles Peralo
Being at age 22, I sort of sit and realize I've been working in the tech/business space for what feels to be a pretty long time now. I remember at 13 starting my first project to build a generator while having an invention book where I'd draw out plans for ideas I had to do. I then started my first software project when I was 16, had my first patent filed at 17 and from Bitcoin to commodities to cities on the ocean to Internet software to news sites to real estate to inventions in bubble gum & exercise equipment “yes that's what I actually do now”, I've just seen what feels to be a lot and what I think makes me a C- list Manhattan entrepreneur & inventor. I'm an amateur veteran!
For this, I look back at what I've seen over the years and I've really been happy to see friends that I've just gotten to know through business go out and have success. People who became millionaires… People who raised millions “sometimes totally blowing it”... People who became stars… People who had their dreams come true… People who just did things and became better people for it. However in that, there was flat out a lot of crap.
And when I say crap, I mean absolute junk I witnessed and sometimes even partook in the development of which was a total and complete waste of time. Yet what I noticed about these ideas is they were bad ideas EVERYONE was failing at doing. Things where if you were to hangout with a bunch of people who've been in the industry for 5-10 years would likely have all of them at one part partook in something similar to this or exactly the same.
With that, here's a possibly crummy top five list to sum up the startups which people just keep trying and never seem to get off the ground.
5. The Community Commerce Company
For this startup, it's kind of simple. It's a beer money idea on college campuses. Go out spending a month of your life to make a crummy place for your friends to sell stuff on campus, have them pressured into selling something and in the end do $2,000 in sales making a hundred bucks in commission for the two hundred hours of work that went into it.
With this type of project, I notice a trend of talented software types want to do what they believe is a good idea which will make money fast in the form of commerce. It is zero capital to put in, going to small communities or colleges seems to be a good market to start and most of the time having 30 friends willing to put up their XBoxes or whatever can probably prove something as a fluke concept. However, when that talented team goes to say “Hey, we can take this idea with nothing proprietary about it AT ALL and all our current users share a bathroom with us and turn it into a billion dollar business at every school”. The answer is they can't…
For this project, it's kind of simple. Nobody really gives the slightest care. There's tons of other sites to sell or buy things on which make the 48 hour wait to get it shipped totally worth it over having an awkward conversation with your friend who sold it to you. Plus, most college students are just poor and/or lazy holding no ability and/or desire to do this. In this, it's not a serious problem or a serious market.
4. Crowdfunding Anything
Let this be the day of mourning. The mourning for thou the crowdfunding startup. Be its radiance fallen to the grace and power of kickstarter. Be the hope plunge into the darkness of indiegogo. Be its energy and love found in its eyes enter into the void of… Other crowdfunding sites? Be those things and let us mourn for the end to the crowdfunding startup bubble.
Okay, joke over… In all seriousness crowdfunding is just another idea where it's simply been done by a few great players, it doesn't need a second player and any theme or gimmick behind a new one is just some venture capital hole which will die when money is running out.
3. Anything Subscription Model Related
This is probably the one that pisses me off the most. After dollar shave club earned its founders the rights to get the shaved and smooth erotic zones of any woman or man their hearts desire, everyone who was licked for ideas tried to rip this thing off to hell. It was basically the cereal crew, the fresh plant society and just a ton of idiots in their parents basements putting bags together of stuff they got at Costco and bagging them together for money.
Simple fact is this: Nobody cares! People for the most part can just run to the store and buy most of these things and select assortments at certain dates or whatever aren't a big enough niche. It's dull and with terrible margins for the business owner with even worse pricing on the consumer.
PS-This idea can still work if you are good at packaging and have an ultra savvy social media team. However, most of the people don't and will just lie to themselves claiming so serving razors or tic tacs in crappy boxes.
2. The Ultra Premium Food Company
This one just personally bothers me. For my own industry, I'm an inventor and am working on consumer products that I try to license “hopefully successfully” to other companies. Yet in this, I do a general run of patents and currently have two patents in exercise equipment and a patent on a new confections product I've developed. Doing those two things, I've learned the food industry moderately well and also have been very focused on health & exercising. In this, I can confirm the ultra premium food market just sucks.
Forget for a moment the immense competition, niche markets, terrible margins, likely bull on benefits with products and the countless other issues, the real problem is just passion. I see so many people in this space who literally a year ago were working in finance or engineering and said “Hey, I'm going to start a pasta company selling something for 5x as much with a good logo!” or “I found a mushroom in the forest that's unique. Let me give it a BS branding and make it a tea that cures back problems!” or a million other pieces of nonsense. Yet it all just stems from people with no passion for the space. A space which isn't even really growing much and most players in it are just larger companies offering organic, premium or specialty options of existing markets. Even examining growth of the premium startup food market, it seems less those people succeed due to the product, but just them being a continued trend in food for startups and holding the same market share anyway.
In this… It's probably a fad and doesn't have a real market. Go invent a patentable novelty bubble gum product that'll likely be a short lived mass market fad like me!
1. The Social Networks
This is going to be the shortest one of them all. If in a conversation and someone says they work on a startup and being asked for the elevator pitch they open it going “It's a social network” begin to politely roll eyes, drown out the conversation and think of how nice it'd be to have bought Bitcoin at $1.50 such as myself or how bad it'd be to buy Facebook stock for IPO opening price and sell when it bottomed out similar to myself also. Sit back and realize this person likely has no idea what they are doing and unless they have a finished product with active users, it'll probably never be an actual thing.