All the money in the world is no guarantee of success

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What does it take to launch a successful business?

Experience, money and connections are certainly helpful.

Just have a listen to ‘How I Built This’, a podcast that dives into the stories behind some of the world’s best known brands.

It is amazing how often successful entrepreneurs will casually mention how – after graduating from a prestigious university – they were given funding, or introduced to a useful industry contact, by a parent or family friend.

But having a head start is certainly no guarantee of success.

Witness the debacle that is Quibi – which is probably the most expensive app you have never heard of.

Quibi is a new TV streaming platform that offers bite sized – 10 minutes or less – “movie-quality shows designed for your phone” all for $4.99 a month.

According to a rather smug “Our Story” page on its website, Quibi was created by tech veteran Meg Whitman, who used to run eBay, and Jeffrey Katzenberg, who was previously chair of Disney.

Quibi has raised $1.8 billion from Hollywood’s ultimate little black book – including Disney, NBCUniversal, Sony Pictures, WarnerMedia and ViacomCBS.

So far the service has fallen flat on its face faster than you can say “hubris”, with anaemic subscriber numbers and – perhaps most deadly – almost no groundswell of buzz at all.

A glance at Google Trends shows interest in the service peaked the week it launched and fell back to earth almost immediately.

Not a good sign in a world where investors will settle for nothing less than exponential growth from nascent tech companies.

“I attribute everything that has gone wrong to coronavirus,” Jeffrey Katzenberg told the New York Times last month.

But I am not so sure coronavirus is really to blame.

Quibi does not offer user generated content or the frictionless social sharing that the likes of YouTube, TikTok, Instagram thrive on.

And while a fiver a month might not be much, there is a world of difference between free and paid – and this pits Quibi against the likes of Netflix, Amazon Prime and Disney Plus for a share of our expenditure and – more importantly – our attention.

A version of this article was published as part of a weekly column by Guy Cookson on marketing, design, trends and strategy in the Lancaster Guardian, Blackpool Gazette and Lancashire Post. See our brand, web design and marketing recent projects.
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