Why Joost Failed


Joost fired its CEO and laid off 100 people yesterday. What went wrong at the once-promising Web TV startup?

Lots!, writes Om Malik of GigaOM.

You’ll want to read the full analysis, but here are Om’s top five bulletpoints:

  • Too Big, Too Fast: Joost hired too many people, too quickly. It never behaved like a startup but instead always felt like a grown-up company with too many bureaucratic layers.
  • Too Geographically Spread Out: The company was based in multiple geographic locations — New York, London and The Netherlands — and as a result, each location became somewhat of a silo.
  • Not Enough Focus: Remember what your mum used to say when you took too big of a bite? If you’re not careful, you’re going to choke. Startups are just like that. Unless you focus, you’re going to choke. Joost couldn’t focus on one single market — and startups need to focus on one market at a time in order to win.
  • Too Much Hype Too Soon: Like many, we were one of the early fans of this start-up. Its founder pedigree generated in a lot of pre-release interest. Nearly 250,000 folks signed-up for the beta version of the software. But when technology problems hit, the pre-release buzz turned into buzz kill.
  • Slow to Fix Its Technology Problems : Joost’s P2P network had technical problems early on that resulted in user defection. The company didn’t move to address those concerns fast enough. These technology problems have continued to nag the company through all its life even when it switched to a browser-based focus.

Continue reading at GigaOm →

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