There’s a popular thing in entrepreneurship these days called “validating your idea.” That is, doing a bit of market research ahead of time to see if anyone will actually want your product before you make it.
It’s a simple strategy that can potentially save millions of dollars worth of time and effort. Clearly though, this isn’t something that everyone does. Because if they did, this list of products that flopped spectacularly would be much much shorter.
Seriously. Just take a look, and get ready to cringe.
1.) The Apple Newton.
This handheld personal computing device debuted in 1993 with a price tag of $700. The Newton’s bulkiness, price, and software shortcomings made it an easy target in the media. By 1998 the Newton gracefully faded away.
2.) Sony Betamax.
Sony thought they would change the world with their Betamax video recorder. Instead its become a running joke that still hasn’t gotten old. Sony was first to market with their video recorder, but VHS was not far behind. The company refused to license their Betamax technology, and forced customers to choose between them or VHS.
3.) Cosmopolitan Magazine Yogurt.
It only took the media empire that is Cosmopolitan Magazine 18 months to realize that they should stick to magazines instead of yogurt. Good call.
4.) Microsoft Bob.
As personal computers were finding their way into Americans’ homes in the mid 1990’s, Microsoft decided to try something different. They wanted to create a totally new interactive experience for personal PC users. That project was Bob. Sadly it was killed in development after only a year. The average PC simply did not have enough power to handle the Bob program.
5.) Coors Spring Water.
Though Coors is arguably a good beer, the company’s customers were not interested in buying water from them. Coors’ Rocky Mountain Spring Water project fell flat on its face.
6.) The Zune.
Designed by Microsoft to be an iPod killer, hopes were high for the Zune. However it just wasn’t enough. At least now you can find them for crazy cheap on eBay.
7.) Maxwell House Ready To Drink Coffee.
Coffee that’s ready to go when I am? Yes please! Oh wait, I have to microwave it? I also can’t microwave it in its container? Then why would I ever buy this? Exactly.
8.) Colgate Foods.
This is probably the weirdest one of the list. Since when does a toothpaste company try to also sell you food. What made them think this would be a good idea?
9.) Life Savers Soda.
Despite the relative popularity of the Life Savers candy, their soda incarnation did not fare very well. Just stick to what you’re good at, ok Life Savers?
10.) Smith & Wessen Bicycles.
Smith & Wessen is best known for making firearms. A little known fact though, is that the company also produces bicycles for law enforcement. Back in the early 2000’s the company decided to try marketing their bikes to the public, but no one really seemed to care.
(Via: Daily Finance)
No wonder everyone always looks at me weird when I’m using my Apple Newton, while listening to music on my Zune and drinking Life Savers Soda. Share these amazing product flops with your friends on Facebook by clicking below.
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Don’t waste your time playing Mozart to your kids to make them cleverer — it doesn’t work.
1. We apply gender stereotypes to babies from literally the moment they’re born.
A study by researchers at California State University found that when shown a picture of a crying baby, children as young as 3 were more likely to say the baby was “sad” if told it was a girl and “angry” if told it was a boy, because of the stereotypes surrounding those genders.
It was a small study, but its findings have been repeated in other contexts and at other ages. We really do seem to apply “girlish” and “boyish” stereotypes even to babies far too young to have any sort of girlish or boyish behaviours.
2. Small children don’t know you are a person with a mind of your own.
If you’ve got a small child, you may have noticed that it spends a lot of time pulling your hair, or biting you. This isn’t because it hates you and wants to cause you pain: It’s because, before a certain age, it simply doesn’t occur to the child that you have a mind which can feel pain.
A developmentally normal child of 5 is a highly gifted mind-reader — as are most of us. We are able to guess, with remarkable accuracy, what the person we’re speaking to is thinking, what they’re aware of, what they think you think they’re thinking. But at the age of 3, most children can’t do any of this stuff.
There’s an experiment in which children are given the following scenario: Someone puts a marble in a box, and then leaves the room, and someone else moves the marble from the box into another one. The children are asked where the owner of the marble will look when they come back into the room. Up until they are about four, most children will say the second box, because they know the marble is there. They can’t think themselves into the mind of someone else who has access to different information.
Earlier in life, children are even worse at this: For instance, up until between 12 and 18 months, if you point at something, they’ll look at your finger, not the thing you’re pointing at. And if you perform an action — say, trying to hang a loop on a hook — but fail at it, children will only work out to repeat the thing you were trying to do at about the age of 18 months. To do so would mean realising that the big creatures that give them milk and wipe their bottoms have goals and needs of their own, and that is quite a sophisticated idea.
3. Children have to learn how to lie — and for a while they’re hilariously bad at it.
Sure, by the time you’re a teenager you’ve really mastered the lying-to-your-parents thing. I’ll be home by midnight; no, I haven’t been smoking; what do you mean, running a major arms-smuggling and prostitution racket from your garage? But younger children simply do not have the skills.
In an experiment in which children were left in a room with a toy but told not to look at it until the experimenter returns, of course most of them did look. But when challenged, most 2- and 3-year-olds immediately confessed their terrible crime; the older they were, the more likely they were to lie about it.
What’s brilliant is that they aren’t necessarily very good at it. As well as being asked whether they looked, some children were asked what they thought the toy would be. Despite having just claimed not to have looked, younger children who lied would blurt out what they knew the toy was (“Barney!”). But slightly older children tried to be less obvious. One 5-year-old said: “I didn’t peek at it. I touched it and it felt purple. So, I think it is Barney.” By the age of 7, most are accomplished liars.
4. Babies are super racist.
No one is born racist, goes the saying. And it’s true, just about. But by three months old, babies prefer to look at faces of the race with which they are most familiar. However, it showed that children brought up in a multi-ethnic environment showed no preference for one ethnicity over another. Which is hopeful news for those of us with small children in large, multi-ethnic cities.
5. You’re OK to drink coffee when pregnant. And wine, in moderation.
When Emily Oster, an economist, got pregnant, she found that the advice on what to do and not do was unhelpful. As an economist, she expected discussion of evidence and risk: instead, she found unexplained commands, such as “don’t eat cured meats” and “don’t drink coffee”. So she looked at the statistical evidence behind the claims and wrote up her findings in a book, Expecting Better: Why the Conventional Pregnancy Wisdom is Wrong — and What You Really Need to Know.
She found that women who drink coffee during pregnancy are more likely to have miscarriages. And that sounds like you shouldn’t drink coffee, right? But it’s more complicated than that. Looking at the evidence, Oster found that it’s more likely to be the other way around: Women who are more likely to have miscarriages tend to drink more coffee. That may sound bizarre, but it makes sense. Some women suffer nausea during pregnancy, which puts them off coffee — but nausea is a sign of a healthy pregnancy. Also, older women — who tend to be at greater risk of miscarriage — tend to drink more coffee. The coffee/miscarriage link seems to be correlation, rather than causation, although one study suggested that if you drink large amounts of coffee and don’t reduce your intake at all there may be some increased risk.
Similarly, the risk of moderate wine drinking (“Drink like a European adult, not like a fraternity brother,” says Oster) is less than you might think.
She also found, by the way, that the injunction to avoid certain meats (because of the risk of listeria infection, which can cause miscarriage) is less useful than it might be. “My best guess was that avoiding sliced ham would lower my risk of listeria from 1 in 8,333 to 1 in 8,255,” she said.
6. Playing Mozart to your baby (or your bump) will not make it brainier.
In 1993, a small study found that listening to classical music for 10 minutes raised the IQ of college students by eight or nine points. This led to a craze in which parents played their children, babies, or even foetuses classical music, in the hope of giving them a better chance in life. The US state of Georgia even started handing out CDs of Mozart to new mothers.
But it’s nonsense. In 1999, the psychologist Chris Chabris carried out a meta-analysis of all the research into the so-called Mozart effect, and found that there was no such thing. The original study had been a fluke. “The results do not show any real change in IQ or reasoning ability,” said Chabris. “There’s a very small enhancement in learning a specific task, such as visualizing the result of folding and cutting paper, but even that is not statistically significant.
“There’s nothing wrong with having young people listen to classical music, but it’s not going to make them smarter.”
It’s not a total wash for “making noises to your bump” enthusiasts, though: There is some evidence that voices and songs that babies hear in the womb are more likely to soothe them when they’re out in the world.
7. Foetuses can taste the food you eat in pregnancy.
Research suggests that babies will be more likely to enjoy different foods if their mother ate them during pregnancy — apparently because the food flavours the amniotic fluid. (Since the foetuses are constantly peeing into the amniotic fluid, this does make one wonder if babies would also enjoy drinking pee, but this experiment has not yet been done.)
Linda Geddes, the New Scientist reporter and author of Bumpology, reports on a study from 2001 in which “the infants of mothers who drank 300 millilitres of carrot juice four times a week for three weeks during the last trimester of pregnancy, or during the first two months of breastfeeding, showed a greater enjoyment of cereals prepared with carrot juice once they were weaned”. Later studies have found similar results.
8. If left to their own devices, children will invent their own language.
Children are extraordinary language-learning machines. You don’t really have to teach them anything — they’ll pick it up from listening to your speech. (Western parents constantly feel they have to explain the language to their children. But, as Steven Pinker notes in The Language Instinct, lots of other cultures simply don’t talk to children until they’re capable of talking back, and they pick up their local language just fine.) But where it gets really interesting is if the adults they’re around don’t speak a language the children can use.
During the slave trade, groups of slaves and labourers were brought from all over the world. The different groups didn’t speak each others’ languages, but cobbled together a sort of crude patchwork, known as a pidgin. “Pidgins are choppy strings of words borrowed from the language of the colonisers or the plantation owners, highly variable in order and with little in the way of grammar,” writes Pinker. But as the children of pidgin-speakers grew up — especially if isolated from their parents, perhaps looked after by a pidgin-speaking worker — they often gave those pidgins highly complex grammar, creating a “brand-new, richly expressive language” known as a Creole.
Another example, away from the horror of the slave trade, is in deaf communities. Sign languages such as British Sign Language and American Sign Language were not, as often thought, created by well-meaning educators, but grown naturally among communities of deaf people. And in 1979 in Nicaragua, the government created the first schools for the deaf. The teachers focused on lip-reading and speech, and it didn’t work — but in the playground the children created their own system, which is now called the Lenguaje de Signos NicaragÃ¼ense. It has no relation to Spanish, and BSL and ASL have no relation to English: Pinker says that ASL has grammatical rules more reminiscent of Navajo and Bantu.
9. You aren’t a product of your upbringing.
Nature or nurture? Psychologists use the terms “genes” and “environment”. Further, they divide “environment” up into “shared environment” and “unique environment”. Shared environment is our home upbringing, school, neighbourhood, and all the things we share with our siblings. The other half is what is confusingly called the “unique environment”, but it essentially means “random other stuff” — the unquantifiable things that only happen to you. So “shared environment” includes all the stuff that you mean by “upbringing”.
When it comes to things like intelligence and personality, Steven Pinker, in his book The Blank Slate, says that twin studies have shown that the effects of shared upbringing “are small (less than 10 percent of the variance), often not statistically significant, often not replicated in other studies, and often a big fat zero… [A]ll things being equal, children turn out pretty much the same way whether their mothers work or stay home, whether they are placed in daycare or not, whether they have siblings or are only children [and] whether they have two parents of the same sex or one of each.”
Not that that means upbringing isn’t important. It’s hugely important — but in a different way. As Judith Rich Harris, author of The Nurture Assumption, points out, you may not be able to determine how intelligent or hard-working your child is, but you can easily make them miserable, or give them unhappy memories of childhood. Just don’t go into parenthood thinking you can mould perfect little children. You can’t.
There have been countless events and incidents throughout history that seem just too strange to be true. Today, the historical medical cures and contraceptives that people used seem like they were the brain child of a mad scientist and not a legitimate solution. (At least people were creative.) Not only was medicine less developed, but the laws and socially acceptable behaviors were much different as well. You’ll be shocked to see some of the things that people did and used throughout history. The strange photos below are a perfect example of some of the weird stuff that has happened over the years. Even if the pictures were innocent, some of these seem sincerely crazy. What the?
1.) The oldest known selfie (1839).
2.) A portrait taken of a woman while she was mid-sneeze (1900).
3.) A “knocker-up” waking up clients (20th century).
4.) Nine kings gather to mourn the death of King Edward VII (1910).
5.) “Pin boys” set up bowling pins while people play games (1914).
6.) A prohibition and anti-saloon league sign, speaking out against liquor.
7.) A police officer on a Harley-Davidson transports a prisoner in a holding cell (1921).
8.) Two girls take a “horseman” picture together (1920).
9.) Two winners of a beauty pageant, back when the standards of beauty were much different (1922).
10.) A beach official measures bathing suits to make sure they aren’t too short (1920).
11.) A couple enjoys an old-fashioned zipline at a fair (1923).
12.) The Isolator was a helmet worn to help the wearer focus, rendering a person deaf. They even had a supply of oxygen (1925).
13.) A full-faced swimming mask that was to help protect women’s skin from the sun (1920s).
15.) The LA Public Library’s bookmobile program for the sick (1928).
16.) A zookeeper gives penguins a cooling shower from a watering can (1930).
17.) The One Wheel Motorcycle, which could reach a top speed of 93 mph (1931).
18.) A cat posed for a cigarette card, found in Army Club Cigarettes (1932).
19.) Makers of the London double decker bus prove that they weren’t a tipping hazard (1933).
20.) A mother is consumed by her worries and watches over her children during the Dust Bowl (1936). This photo of Florence Owens Thompson is actually one of the photos on this list that became quite famous in its own right.
21.) This is possibly the first GPS, an auto-scrolling map that would help people navigate in real time (1930).
22.) A Model T elevator garage in Chicago (1936).
23.) Salvador Dali and Coco Chanel sharing a smoke break (1938).
24.) This bicycle fit a family of four and it included a sewing machine (1939).
25.) Infants wear gas mask hoods during a London bombing drill (1940).
26.) WWII soldiers get their last kiss before being deployed (1940s).
27.) A small puppy sleeps in between Russian soldiers (1945).
28.) An Austrian boy is excited about his first pair of new shoes in years (1946).
29.) A bear cub laps up a bowl of honey in a cafe (1950).
30.) A man dresses his dog up in a suit and puts his cat in the dog’s lap for a picture (1950s).
31.) There used to be ice-cold whisky dispensers, sometimes found in offices (1950s).
32.) The winner of the Miss Atomic Bomb pageant is crowned (1950).
33.) Afghan women, casually dressed, use a public library before the Taliban rule (1950s).
34.) Paul McCartney takes a mirror selfie (1959).
35.) Young women attend a house party in this colorized photo (1950s).
36.) Fidel Castro lays a wreath at the Lincoln Memorial (1959).
37.) Fritz the bulldog, a TV celebrity, is groomed by a barber (1961).
38.) The Cat Mew machine, designed by the Japanese to keep away mice (1963).
39.) A young woman takes her pet lobster out for a walk (1950s).
40.) A young boy attends Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have A Dream” speech (1963).
41.) “TV Glasses,” a product that never caught on (1963).
42.) A dramatic photo of a utility worker receiving CPR after being electrocuted, “The Kiss Of Life” (1967).
43.) Young Osama Bin Laden with his family in Sweden, in the green shirt on the right (1970s).
44.) Bill & Hillary Clinton play volleyball before getting married (1971).
The moments captured in time are completely out of context now, but even keeping that in mind doesn’t help how strange some of this seems. Don’t laugh, though. In 50 years, what you’re doing today might seem completely crazy to other people. Click below to share this strange gallery.
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Artworks are lost for several reasons. Disasters – both natural and man-made, war, repression by political or religious authorities, or destruction at the hands of artists themselves seem the most common cause. Whatever the reason, a lost artwork is always a huge loss to our shared cultural heritage.
Henri Rousseau was a post-impressionist painter whose child-like works had a profound impact on the surrealist, expressionist and primitivist movements. Alfred Jarry was a genius playwright whose own work had a huge impact on the course of modernist theater, influencing Dada, Surrealism, and the Theater of the Absurd. According to popular legend, Jarry in fact inspired Rousseau to paint by declaring he had the face of an artist. In 1895, Jarry, who had written some positive reviews for the now noteworthy Rousseau, sat for a portrait by the artist. Frustrated by vanity, Jarry could not stand the results and promptly destroyed the canvas, thus depriving today’s audiences of a glimpse into the world of two precursors to so much modern art.
Minimalist artist Richard Serra’s massive Tilted Arc, which featured 2.5 inch thick steel sculpted to be 120 feet long and 12 feet high, was commissioned by federally funded arts organizations for the Federal Plaza in New York City in 1981. Over the years, the sculpture was opposed for reasons of maintenance cost (it had become an attraction for graffiti artists), convenience (it made movement around the Plaza difficult), and for aesthetic reasons (many publicly declared the work an eyesore). In 1985, a decision was made to destroy the work. Four years and many court battles later, the work was scrapped for steel by federal workers. Serra believed the piece altered the visual perception of the viewer’s environment. Unluckily for Serra, the public perception of Tilted Arc seems to be that something as solid as steel can be altered into invisibility at the pound of a gavel.
In Bahrain, Pearl Square became the site of sweeping protests for democratic reform and economic equality in February 2011. Central to the square was Pearl Monument, a massive sculpture featuring six sweeping arches, representing the six Gulf states that make up the Gulf Cooperation Council, holding a pearl, a symbol of wealth. After several weeks of demonstrations, the Bahrain government removed the protesters through military power. The sculpture, which had begun to hold symbolic meaning to the protesters and their sympathizers, was destroyed by the government. A migrant crane worker was crushed to death during the demolition of the monument.
In the early 1970s, pop artist Roy Lichtenstein took a break from appropriating comics and began making canvases based on entablatures. Entablatures are moldings decoratively placed horizontally above the columns on buildings. Lichtenstein copied designs from Greco-Roman sources in his typical style, giving the motifs a modern edge. Several of the original canvases were housed in one of the Twin Towers and were destroyed during the 9/11 attacks.
Many works of great importance to Western art have been lost in a series of events termed the Bonfire of the Vanities, a practice initiated by an Italian priest in the late 15th century wherein artworks depicting secular or mythological themes or images deemed sinful were destroyed by fire. Perhaps the greatest loss to our cultural heritage is the destruction of several paintings by Sandro Botticelli that are based on mythological and pagan lore. Botticelli’s use of Greco-Roman and pagan themes stirred the interest in the ancient arts and sciences that were crucial to the development of the Renaissance. It is a great deprivation that the works of his that remain after the fires are mostly meditations on religious themes and not the more stringently humanist, mythological, and sexual themes he was renown for during his life.
Francis Bacon was a giant of modern art who left both his critics and the general public in awe of his hallucinatory and visceral canvases. The Velazquez series is generally considered to be not only one of his masterworks, but also one of the masterworks of 20th century art. Unfortunately, Bacon himself was rarely satisfied with his work and was also prone to alcohol fulled fits of rage in which he would destroy his canvases. The third in his landmark Velazquez series was one of the more notable victims of his despair.
Film noir maverick Henri-Georges Clouzet directed the documentary the Mystery of Picasso, which features the eponymous aged and shirtless master creating whimsical drawings and paintings. Filmed in an innovative manner that allows the audience to see Picasso’s simple, abstract, but powerful figures come to fruition brush-stroke by brush-stroke, it seems the process was more important than the result for both filmmaker and artist. All of the works created for the film were destroyed upon completion, so they would exist nowhere but on celluloid. The French government declared the reels a national treasure.
Commissioned by Nelson Rockefeller to create a mural for the entrance to Rockefeller Center, Diego Riveria was given the theme “man at the crossroads,” a utopian sentiment chosen by Rockefeller to stir ambitions for a hopeful political future in the viewer. Riveria had ambitions for a very different political future than his patron when he painted two leftist heroes, Trotsky and Lenin, standing amidst a crowd of workers. Rockefeller demanded the painting be altered, but Riveria refused. The painting was covered with a curtain upon completion, an act which was met with many protests. Despite the public outcry, the mural was destroyed by workers.
Caravaggio’s stunning Nativity, which demonstrates the qualities that have made him so revered – his controversial naturalism, dramatic use of chiaroscuro, use of imperfect models, and loose pairing of historical subject matter – was stolen in 1969 from a church in Sicily, Italy. The theft is assumed to be the work of the Sicilian mafia. A former mafia figure turned police informant has stated that the painting has passed through several hands, ending up in storage in a farmhouse where it was destroyed by animals. The owner at the time burned remains of the painting upon discovering it in scraps. The FBI is still attempting to recover the painting and has listed its value at $20 million dollars.
Courbet’s landmark painting shocked bourgeois audiences upon its 1850 debut at the Paris Salon. The masterpiece is a monumental depiction of lowly peasant labor. Courbet had bravely paired a canvas size typically reserved for royal portraits or religious paintings with a topic generally shunned by high art practitioners of the period. The Stonebreakers has proved hugely influential for its bold assertion that everyday activities are an acceptable theme for high artwork and for ushering the social realist tendency in visual art. The original canvas was destroyed during the U.S. Military’s air attack on Dresden, Germany in 1945.Read More