Flipped – Wish I was always this right

by Rocco Tarasi

Flipped - Wish I was always this rightTwo years ago, in the second post I ever wrote, I wrote about the Flip Video camera:

“Add video recorders to the list of industries being disrupted by “good enough” products that, with less features than the established players, become both easier to use and less expensive. Have you seen the Flip Mino?… Seriously, you couldn’t make something easier to use. It is fantastic.”

But, I ended with this paragraph:

“The problem is that the Flip is also a great example of a product that quickly disrupts an industry, only to itself become disrupted in the not too distant future. Do you really think that my iPhone isn’t going to record the same quality video, in an equally easy interface, with a much bigger screen? Or a future Blackberry? They successfully disrupted the video recording industry, but how can they resist the continued improvement of cell phone video recording? Soon cell phone video recording will be “good enough” too – and you already carry one of those in your pocket.”

It was surprising that Cisco, a company known for their strong M&A program, would pay $600M for the company, but they must have known what they were doing, right?

Fast forward to this week. Cisco has killed the Flip. (GigaOM: The End: Cisco Shuts Down Flip, a $590 Million Mistake). I haven’t used mine in over a year – I have my iPhone on me everywhere I go, and its video recording is good enough.

I’m not clairvoyant (though that would be nice); a number of people including TechCrunch Editor Mike Arrington shared this opinion. I’m just wondering why this wasn’t as obvious to everyone else.


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Rocco TarasiRocco Tarasi was an accountant, investment banker, and CFO before becoming a technology entrepreneur.

No comments

  1. It’s funny Rocco, but the iPod may have had a role as well – plus regular digital cameras (which have gotten very good at video too).

    Here was my 2009 article:

    https://www.business-strategy-innovation.com/wordpress/2009/09/will-the-flip-be-flipped-by-the-ipod/

    I think Flip got it from all sides.

    And it is a great example of what happens when your product becomes a feature. This is what is happening to Square now and why Jack Dorsey probably chose to sell out.

    All the best,

    Braden
    @innovate

  2. You’re right, there were many contributors to the flip’s demise.

    It’s interesting to compare where we are today to say 5 years ago. The speed of innovation seems greater, partly because of the rapid decline of a lot of the startup costs required to build new technologies. This is especially true with software and consumer internet services.

    But it does seem like a lot of the innovations we’re seeing are just destined to be “features” of something else, like you said. Photo sharing, group buying, improving email, group texting… lots of new products and services being released every day that would make more sense as features of something else.

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