Jason Goldberg, CEO of online retailer Fab, is “
doomed to repeat his mistakes,” according to The Verge. It’s a great long-read about the company’s history.
For instance, although many people know that Fab has changed business strategy — or “pivoted,” in startup parlance — twice in its short history, fewer people remember that this is not the first startup helmed by Goldberg that also pivoted (twice).
In the mid-2000s, Goldberg founded Jobster, a careers site that went through two pivots before being acquired for a fraction of its former value, The Verge reports. It was an expensive lesson for Goldberg’s backers, The Verge says:
In an interview after he started Fab, Goldberg reflected on his Jobster days. “I made every mistake in the book,” he explained. “I … basically got educated on that $US48 million on how to start companies.”
Here’s Goldberg’s history, per The Verge:
- 2004: Starts Jobster, an employee referral site.
- Company pivots twice, first as a search engine then as a social network.
- 2006: 41% of Jobster staffers are laid off; company is sold for pennies on the dollar.
- 2011: Starts Fabulis, a gay community site.
- Business pivots to a flash sales site, now called Fab.
- 2012: Abandons flash sales and pivots in favour of traditional retail.
- Half the 700 staff are laid off; several senior management executives exit.
If Fab doesn’t turn around, it could be a bigger mistake than Jobster was. Fab has taken $US336 million in investor funding so far.
(We contacted Goldberg and his spokesperson for comment but did not immediately hear back.)