Why startups fail….

Was browsing Product Hunt. Some of the lamest ideas i’ve ever seen.

For instance. What is the difference between this platform http://www.joinmembo.com and  what twitter or facebook can do for a business(?). There’s no difference. People follow businesses or like businesses, and then they are exposed to deals or offers. As an investor I wouldn’t give these guys a dime.Doomed to fail. Your thoughts ?

  • So let’s say Old Navy joins this ‘membo’ site. I can now pay to have access to Old Navy’s 50% sales. Wouldn’t it make more sense for Old Navy to offer this 50% off sale to everyone? obviously.

    It is quite unrealistic. I mean wouldn’t old navy want people to join for free. What is the benefit to having your most avid customers pay to have access to your best deals.

    I can’t quite rap my head around why any business would use this.

    Your right, startups that are fundamentally sound are hard to find these days.

    • Hi There,

      I’m from Membo, the company that OP has called out. Found this thread a few months late, but wanted to address a few of the points mentioned here.

      Using your example, Old Navy would definitely want to make some discounts available to everyone. Using Membo, Old Navy can create a FREE membership that gives anyone that joins access to the 50% off deal, but Old Navy could also open a membership for $5/month that gives them access to a 70% off deal. You can refer to many real life examples that do this: Costco, Amazon Prime, Wine Clubs & etc.

      Also, businesses do not have to only offer a discount. Old Navy could just as easily offer Free Shipping for Free or a set fee per month.

      I encourage you to check out some of the memberships on joinmembo.com.


  • It is not that simple. You can always compare a startup with a big brand. A new product with something existing. You can consider Twitter as an alternative to email, though much worse. But they obviously succeeded. Tesla is “just another car manufacturer in a crowded market”. And so on. Any startup provides a different point of view on something. Twitter and Facebook are about communication. They compete with mail, email, phone calls… in a very different way. You can still invent new ways in this field (think about Yo). Some may succeed, most are BS. You don’t know until they succeed or fail.

    My startup and my product are like that. Early adopters see it as unique and valuable, lots of people may think it’s only a little better alternative to existing products. But most may think I have no chances because of a crowded market. This is the classical point view “startup = BS and MVP = crap” which you explain and feel yourself. I don’t blame you, I had exactly that point of view about early Twitter, Facebook, iPhone (using an iPod for phone calls ? WTF ???). I recognize I didn’t see any of those big things, and I believed in other which failed. And it is normal: nobody can know if a startup will succeed or fail before it happen. That’s why I respect all startup founders, even when I think their product is crap and their idea is BS. Because I know I can be wrong, and their success can be really impressive.

    • Twitter if I recall took the place of carbon copying your address book

      and then hitting the send button. Basically a broadcast tool., all jazzed up.

      In 2006 ,—yes—- there was a dire need for this ..

      You better have something unique, like vanishing photos after 7 seconds, or you’re wasting time and money.

  • the worse is when you think idea is great but execution of it and CEO are mad….bad management decisions make some startups fail.

    • I disagree with your statement. I can’t prove it, but I’m quite sure big ideas can work fine even if management is weak. This is a detail. If your product fulfill a huge market need, you can make lots of mistakes and still succeed with a bad product, bad marketing, bad management and loose vision. When you succeed, you refine everything.

      Bad management can kill business, for sure, but not startup ideas. Bad management kill established businesses or small businesses, which are very different from startups.

      • well…nobody can really kill an idea, but as you said bad management can kill business and therefore prolong that success.

        “When you succeed, you refine everything.” How do you define succeed here? At which point you refine things when top folks are mad?

        I don’t think massive funding can help bad management. Bad CEO got to go if not capable of taking company to the next level.

  • What about the lack of startup companies solving real world (not first world) problems. And yes, I don’t know who gets to decide what our ” real” problems are, but it seems that we need more companies creating, redesigning and rebuilding. Our start up is tackling healthcare, and I don’t mean an app that tracks some minor health metric. It seems like our world needs to fix education, finance, poverty…not video games. And while we’re at it, can we please have a business model that doesn’t rely on advertising as revenue generation.

  • Membo is a particularly bad one – no info on founders, a Napa phone number with a supposed SF-Chinatown address, and the name itself has a past:


    No angel.co listing or anything else either. This is clearly someone who thinks that firing tweets off in all directions will yield traction.

    Thing is – there are a lot of factors behind a startup besides the idea.

    My personal peeve are startups with clearly zero credibility in their space – i.e. don’t understand it and aren’t changing it – who get millions in funding because they have a successful exit + Y-combinator pedigree. The funding, however, is a big leg up compared to the majority of the field; it will allow these guys to hire people, to experiment and pivot, and thus buys a lot of runway to extend the runway available to find success.

      • I think it is pretty self explanatory. If you see a bunch of products which make no sense and aren’t cool, then the business model of the site is probably just clickbait.

    • Hi There,

      You seem to have a real talent for internet sleuthing.

      I’m a Membo founder and I wanted to address some of the points you bring up here.

      First off, our feature on Product Hunt was unexpected and happened months before our planned launch. Nevertheless, we got some great traffic and generated a lot of interest.

      There was no info on founders because we were trying to stay stealth (Did you consider checking LinkedIn?). It’s actually a Sonoma phone number, that’s where the company originally started. The address was not supposed as you surmised, you could have visited our beautiful offices in Chinatown. We love visitors!

      Now, my question regarding your first points: who cares? Does every business need a 415 area code, a SOMA address and a founders page?

      As for our name, Membo, it is a Trademark that we own.

      As we mentioned earlier, we wanted to stay stealthy and that is why we did not have an angel.co listing.

      As for firing off tweets, we just love to tweet.

      As for credibility, we’ve been working with a lot of great businesses for a while now and like all other early stage startups, we are working to build and find that credibility day after day.

      Y Combinator Pedigree? No, but thanks. We’re just a group of friends who are working on a fun idea that people seem to really like.

      Sorry I wasn’t here several months ago to get in on the discussion.

      Thanks for checking us out. Feel free to give us another look!

  • Hi OP,

    Thanks for sparking a discussion on my company. I’m a founder at Membo.

    Sorry that I was not here to join the discussion several months ago, but I’m here now.

    Product Hunt is crowd-sourced, meaning that anyone can post whatever they find to be a cool ‘hunt’ that day. We had no control over our feature, and to be honest it happened long before we were planning to launch.

    O how is it different than Twitter of Facebook? Well, Membo is a platform that lets anyone create and promote a membership or subscription service for their business or organization. Twitter and Facebook don’t do that. The only similarity between us all is that we are channels where businesses can communicate with their customers. Businesses that use our platform can offer whatever benefits they want to their members at whatever price they want.

    We have a great product, with great users and even better businesses. Doomed to fail? From where we are sitting, no. 3 months on from your original post and we are still here and our future looks bright.

    I say your later posts about your own ‘creative and disruptive’ product. We support founders in ways that are constructive, care to share your product?

    To be honest, we wouldn’t take a dime from an investor who is willing to write off a product before understanding it.

    I encourage you to take another look. We’ve come a long way.

    Have a wonderful day, best of luck with your startup.

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