Is Quora the new Google?

If everything goes well,
Quora might be what shows on Google when you enter a question in the search box. And on Bing. And on Yahoo.

Important note: Google has been working on their solution of semantic search, the Knowledge Graph, for years. Others, like Bing, are working on semantic search, too. Quora has the potential to fit right in. In the web world of tomorrow (and yesterday, actually) what we need are answers, not search results. If Quora SEOs the heck out of this website, that might just be their largest benefit. And yes, that might also make it a Wikipedia alternative. But to get to that point, it will have to diversify its portfolio of topics and answers far more than it has to date.

So no, there is no David vs. Goliath question here, and Quora is not the new Google. There is more of a David-in-symbiosis-with-Goliath-thing starting to emerge…

See the answer on Quora:

Is Quora the new Google?


What are some startups that had great products but failed because they didn’t market them (well)?

Scroll down for my list

This article…
suggests that poor marketing is the 4th most frequent reason why startups crash.

I personally believe that bad assumptions on markets and lousy execution of products are more typical reasons for startups to fail. Also, it is often hard to argue that a product fails just or mainly because it was poorly marketed. After all, it is always an easy way to write about such a situation by blaming it on the marketing, because strategic marketing hardly has a lot of hard data to defend itself.

I did, however, compile a short list of companies and products that I think were in one way or another poorly marketed.

Disclaimer: Please take into account, that startup failure never is a one-reason thing. Therefore, the question wether these startups defaulted mostly because of poor marketing, will remain disputable. Feel free to discuss about it with me in the comments.

I'll start this list now, let it simmer for a while and modify it every now and then.


Company: Color
Problem: great product, but market pioneer; failed (or 'is still failing') because of lack of users, has revamped into a 'live photo and video streaming' application
Marketing fail: failed to educate and wow people; when penetrating a market niche whose value proposition is something that most potential users are not familiar with, there is a lot of education, viral seeding and just overall demonstration and spreading of the value proposition to be done

Company: CrunchPad
Problem: The buzz created around the product was way too early and way too much. When difficulties between Arrington and Fusion Garage pinnacled, the project self-destructed, leaving a black hole of disappointment because of the huge brand recognition it got before. Yes, they might at some point have had a great product. Only that they produced so much vapor that it was hard to please the masses…
Marketing fail: disability to keep expectations low enough, openly discussing timing before it is safe that the production will make it, simply too much communication before anything substantial was in sight

Company: Joost
Problem: great Software, great founders, great backing ($40 million) – but not enough viral functionality built into the product, therefore it got trumped by what came after it – Hulu and the like.
Marketing fail: marketing not built into the product (social media/viral marketing in this case)

Problem: many of you must have heard this story: what started as an aspiring delivery service for pet supplies, largely pushed by an enormous and insightful marketing campaign (their sock puppet mascot was even interviewed by people magazine), later failed to deliver what the value propositions promised their customers.
Marketing fail: A lot of the ca. 80 Million Dollars went into marketing. Marketing worked great. The only problem was, again, that it was creating false expectations that the company later couldn't deliver on.

Other Industries
Company: Mitsubishi
This is just too funny, I had to add it:
Problem: Calls its SUV 'Pajero' differently in Spanish speaking countries ('Montero'), because pajero basically means 'wanker' in Spanish. Noticed that way too late.
Marketing fail: bad naming, bad branding/internationalization research

See the answer on Quora:

What are some startups that had great products but failed because they didn't market them (well)?

Will Google make Maps available as a standalone app for iOS 6?

I think that strategically, it would make a lot of sense for Google to release a standalone App.

Apple’s efforts to ban their opponent from their closed system have gotten more and more rigorous, but as we see with Chrome for iOS, the Search Giant is shooting back. Google is sure – just like Apple – that they have the superior product, and that is why they see the release of Google Chrome for iOS as a key link to their own infrastructure. The same goes for Google Maps, even though the conversion rate is not as high as with a browser, because users can get a very good user experience out of using a maps app without signing in for personalized features. But still, it makes sense, because in such an app, Google could integrate, say, Google+ and other services (now that they aren’t being told by Apple how that app has to look anymore) to convert more and more users to their services.

So yes, of course they should make a standalone Maps app for iOS 6. Will they? Hard to say. I’d bet on yes. At least a simple one.

//Edit: As reported a coule of days ago, the licensing contract between Apple and Google regarding the YouTube app for iOS has also expired, resulting in Google developing a standalone version of its popular video service for iOS (source:…).

See the answer on Quora:

Will Google make Maps available as a standalone app for iOS 6?

Do patents offer any kind of protection for innovation in delivery or a process?

Almost none.

Even if your stuff is patented that won't stop someone in a remote country that the US has no legal access to copying it right away. Plus: you have to maintain surveillance on people stealing your ideas.

Three things that help, are:

– complexity (e.g. technological complexity)
– speed (e.g. scaling/growth speed for market penetration)
– good lawyers (that watch the market and immediately shut the door on copycats if possible)

See the answer on Quora:

Do patents offer any kind of protection for innovation in delivery or a process?

Should a startup compete in a certain industry by getting more traffic/users or open an API for all competitors to use its products?

It's actually not about doing one or the other but about deciding on each strategic element separately, and there are no general reasons against doing both. Also, doing the latter can lead to the former. And, concluding: you do not have to open an API for all your competitors to use it. Depending on the actual circumstances, that could be a dangerous decision.

See the answer on Quora:

Should a startup compete in a certain industry by getting more traffic/users or open an API for all competitors to use its products?

Why did Google name their new product Hotpot instead of Hotspot?

The great thing about the name Hotpot is actually that people – of whom most have no idea what Hotpot really stands for, I'd suggest – will stumble upon the fact that it is not called Hotspot but Hotpot, like you. It's a great 'brain-catcher' that makes you think twice and helps the brand lock itself into your brain. See my post on Hipmunk's name to learn more about de-habitualization and the breaking of norms:

See the answer on Quora:

Why did Google name their new product Hotpot instead of Hotspot?