Quibi was set up to fail. Mission accomplished.

Quibi was set up to fail. Mission accomplished.

We are all forged in failure; it is the nature of education itself. However, experience should evolve into wisdom, and wise people should do their best to make new mistakes, not old ones. Quibi was set up to fail from the start. Here are just a few of its most obvious old mistakes.

1 – Too much money: Quibi raised more than $1.75 billion. Why? It needed a fraction of that to prove its value. Swimming in that much cash was guaranteed to produce a culture that was decidedly “unhungry.” Start Quibi with $5 million; it would have failed faster (and not for lack of capital, see below.)

2 – Assumptions about consumer behavior against a form factor: “I have a brilliant idea. Cookbooks on DVDs!” If that sentence sounds stupid and obviously wrong to you, let’s put it in Quibi context: “I have a brilliant idea. Videos on handheld devices!” The only question you could possibly ask: “Which cookbooks?” or “Which videos?” Form factors change and evolve. “I have a brilliant idea. Music on cassette tapes!” Um… what music?

3 – We’re going to make great videos, not that usual crap that people watch: This may be the most egregious of all of the errors made by Quibi. “We’re going to write songs like the Beatles, not that crap that’s all over Spotify (the radio, etc.).” There is an old adage: “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.” Never, ever, never, never, never, ever use yourself as a focus group of one. Who are you to say what people will like or dislike? It’s not like the old days; you don’t have to hire a research firm, you don’t need to wonder if you’re right, you don’t need to be smarter than the Internet. You can test the quality of your ideas in the morning, adjust your product in the afternoon, and retest the next morning. It’s 2020; don’t tell me what you think you know, just test, fail… and learn! (Note: this does not apply to artists who have a vision and need to realize it so that others may share what they feel. Rather, it applies to people who seek a financial ROI on content they pay for and distribute.)

4 – Quibi: As you fade from memory to history, you can take comfort that you will be remembered as one of the most predictable failures of the streaming video era, unless you view Quibi through the lens of the people who raised and used the money. (There are very clear winners there. Quibi blew through $1.4 billion of the $1.75 billion it raised in six months. That money went somewhere.) Even the word “failure” needs to be qualified and defined.

The biggest mistake: Quibi never established a brand for itself. If you need help establishing a brand for your business, my Brand Playbook Generator will help.

Author’s note: This is not a sponsored post. I am the author of this article and it expresses my own opinions. I am not, nor is my company, receiving compensation for it.

About Shelly Palmer

Shelly Palmer is the Professor of Advanced Media in Residence at Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications and CEO of The Palmer Group, a consulting practice that helps Fortune 500 companies with technology, media and marketing. Named LinkedIn’s “Top Voice in Technology,” he covers tech and business for Good Day New York, is a regular commentator on CNN and writes a popular daily business blog. He's a bestselling author, and the creator of the popular, free online course, Generative AI for Execs. Follow @shellypalmer or visit shellypalmer.com.



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