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This article was published on June 8, 2011

Why it would be good if Color failed

Why it would be good if Color failed
Boris Veldhuijzen van Zanten
Story by

Boris Veldhuijzen van Zanten

Founder & board member, TNW

Boris is a serial entrepreneur who founded not only TNW, but also V3 Redirect Services (sold), HubHop Wireless Internet Provider (sold), and Boris is a serial entrepreneur who founded not only TNW, but also V3 Redirect Services (sold), HubHop Wireless Internet Provider (sold), and Boris is very active on Twitter as @Boris and Instagram: @Boris.

I have great respect and admiration for all entrepreneurs out there including the Color founders. I have seen the videos and read the interviews. In theory, Color sounds cool, its founders seem to be knowing what they are talking about and those investors that sunk 50 million into the startup can’t be crazy either.

Still, I hope that one of these days I wake up and Color has just disappeared.

I thought about that this last Saturday while I was out having dinner. Several people I know also had dinner at the restaurant where I was and I’m sure several of them took a few photos. I also know that nobody used Color.

Once every few weeks I’m reminded of Color because I see the App on my iPhone when I’m looking for Instagram. Both apps are in my ‘Photography’ folder. So I bump into Color and open it to see if anything has changed and if I see any use to give it another try.

Unfortunately for Color I never do. All I experience is resentment. The interface is clunky. I don’t understand half of what I’m seeing and I see no activity from other users. Now you might argue that I ‘just don’t get it’. Obviously I don’t. Unfortunately I haven’t met anyone else who has.

All of that wouldn’t have mattered if Color was just another App. But it isn’t. It is an App that has raised $50+ million. It is the quintessential example of another tech bubble. At least, that is what most journalists seem to think. They call us and say “There must be another bubble! Facebook is worth billions and Color raised $50 million before they even had a product”.

So is there another bubble? Nope. Color is just screwing up the space-time continuum. Its an anomaly. A freak-accident. It undermines the foundations of the New New Web Economy where small teams build small apps that becomes successful via word of mouth and which raise funding because their servers are crashing because they are growing too fast.

Color screwed up our world. It ignored the rules. It spits in the face of real, hard-working, entrepreneurs while it throws out substandard software with questionable functionality. It almost makes me feel embarrassed to be an Internet Entrepreneur. To be seen as being in the same industry. I feel I have to make up excuses for what happened here so I can explain it to outsiders and make it clear this isn’t business as usual for us either.

Again, I don’t blame the founders. If you have a great pitch and you can persuade a bunch of investors to wire you $50 million, well, more power to you. In fact, invite me to your next champagne party so we can high-five each other, get drunk and dance till dawn. I promise I won’t puke all over your designer furniture.

Apart from that $50 million for no product is an insult to entrepreneurs who work their backs off to build extraordinary products with 1/100th of that amount. It’s not what internet entrepreneurship is about, it’s not what most entrepreneurs love about the industry, it’s not what I love about the industry and if Color fails and can become a case study for how not to do things – then yes, I think Color should fail.