In almost perfect example of our “Epic Fail” theme read awesome story by Marc Hedlund “Why Wesabe Lost to Mint“. You can see the abstract general concepts we described in previous post unfolding in real life as Wesabe briefly enjoyed first mover advantage before losing ground to well funded competitor which clearly operated under very different set of assumptions. Just go ahead and read it.

Mint launched first – I hear this surprisingly often; they didn’t. Wesabe launched about 10 months before Mint. More the shame that we didn’t capitalize on that early lead.

Wesabe never made any money – untrue. We started generating revenue in late 2008, a year and a half before we shut down;

Design matters a huge amount, without question, and Mint’s design was exceptional, but if other, stronger forms of lock-in are in place first, design alone can’t win a market, nor can it keep a market.

And the critical insight:

My goals may have been (okay, were) noble, but in the end we didn’t help the people I wanted to since the product failed. I was focused on trying to make the usability of editing data as easy and functional as it could be; Mint was focused on making it so you never had to do that at all. Their approach completely kicked our approach’s ass.

Very well played Mark ! A noble failure and much thanks on massive amount of  hard startup knowledge you created by trying with Wesabe and sharing these lessons!

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