Business lessons from bankrupt global giants


A KRA agent inspects alcoholic beverages in Nairobi, Embakasi sub-county, to pick up businesses without health and operating permits. [File, Standard]

Startups are increasingly disrupting established businesses, thanks to ever-evolving technological innovations. Some companies that were once the market leaders are now a mere shadow of themselves and behind their failures lie key lessons.

Some, however, have known of ways to stay in the market through innovation. Take the example of Amazon, whose core business is online shopping. It has since diversified and today produces television shows and offers web services.

The success behind the Amazon brand is the ideation, incubation, and scaling. Every business idea proposed by their employee is carefully considered and if it is seen as potential, the next phase is incubation, where it is tried out on clients and if it is seen as successful, it is brought to life. ladder.

Few companies take such experiences or make a bet to try an idea and that’s how innovation dies or a business closes its doors for good. Here are five examples of failed businesses whose stories would be read differently today.

Nokia and Blackberry

Both were market leaders in their time. Many nostalgia for the iconic Nokia cellphones, known for their long battery life, but lacking features like current smartphone brands in the market.

Nokia would still be a leader in the cell phone market if it had focused on software development with the advent of the Internet instead of focusing on hardware. Focusing on voice, the company started its gradual decline and its attempt to come back with a smartphone was not successful due to the phone’s operating system which had a bad user experience.

Blackberry phones remember their keyboards that had to be entered manually, but they failed to innovate by launching products with touch screens and it nibbled away their market share.


They say the customer is always right. Blockbuster should have listened to its customers. As the leader in entertainment content, Blockbuster, which had successfully switched from VHS to DVD, liked customers to stream in their physical stores and didn’t entertain the idea of ​​shipping customer orders. Netflix capitalized on this and ate up the traditional Blockbuster market share.

If Blockbuster had partnered with its competitor, it would be in business today. The problem is, Blockbuster took lightly that Netflix only served niche customers, not mainstream customers. Then Netflix took it a step further and started streaming services, spelling out the last nail in Blockbuster’s coffin.

Segway scooters

How about making a product where you don’t define how or it should be used? I am thinking of the Segway scooter. The idea behind this fuel-efficient innovation was to revolutionize transportation, but the innovator did not specify where it should be used. Was it on pedestrian walkways or on roads in motorized traffic? This was the question the authorities had to resolve. What seemed like a good idea to facilitate personal movement died because no one was willing to buy a product they didn’t know where it should be used.


The Kodak company may not have foreseen the future of photography, especially digital cameras or smartphones with high-resolution cameras that have redefined photography. Steven Sasson, an employee of Kodak, had proposed the idea of ​​digital photography to the company in 1975, but it was rejected because the company feared it would affect its film market. If the company had embraced the idea, it would today be a market leader in digital photography. Unfortunately, she filed for bankruptcy in 2012.


Yahoo was one of the most popular websites, especially with their online advertising at the start of the era. This site would still be popular today if it hadn’t invested in becoming a giant media company and instead focused on competing as a search engine. Google came along and ruined the party. Although Yahoo invested in the cloud storage known as Yahoo Briefcase, they failed to take advantage of it, with Google relying on its Dropbox and Google Drive products. Yahoo had the opportunity to buy Google in 2002, but failed. The unfortunate part of the business was letting Mark Zuckerberg get away with the Facebook product that has revolutionized communication today.


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