The announcement made by Hashable CEO Michael Yavonditte that the information exchange app would wind up at the end of July seems to have come as bit of a surprise; but is it really? To those looking for social or digital media jobs, the collapse of the company will remind them that successful as it is, the digital economy is not indestructible; but it will also give them an opportunity to learn from the mistakes of others.
With the death of a much-lauded product that was only launched 18 months ago, it seems that the ghosts of the of the late-Nineties Dot Com Bubble are still taking victims and are lurking in the machines of each and every Internet, tablet and smartphone user who chooses which apps they will, or will not, install and which information they wish to share.
As a medium by which people were encouraged to connect, share and save relationship information, Hashable was touted as the death knell for the business card, an app that would track and record each and every social connection you made, enabling you to showcase who you’ve just met, to who you’ve (probably) met before. This way, you can grow your social and business circle and earn the prestigious ‘Hash Creds’ while you’re doing it. This would create VIP Hashable users whose connections were superior or more prolific than others.
Hashable – Was Exactly Was It?
Type Hashable into any search engine and it won’t be long before you find a blog ranting about the various downfalls of the brand. It seems it didn’t make many friends.
In the line of fire stands the company’s trivialising of real encounters and exploiting them for prestige, and the fact that they seemed to have turned real-time human relationships into a game with winners and losers. It also suffered from an identity crisis. Was it a social network purely for fun? Or was it, as was suggested, a way of developing business networking opportunities? It seems it didn’t really know and it paid the ultimate price.
Plus, why would people use a service that is already provided by Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin? Perhaps it wasn’t an identity crisis, but simply an ill-thought out business model. After all, in the face of such competition even the most brilliant and effective product would struggle.
So What Now?
According to Yavonditte the team behind Hashable will be returning to what they know best – advertising. Yavonditte will be taking his ‘hash creds’ into the world of mobile advertising but is remaining tight-lipped about the finer details – although he is insisting that this is not a pivot, but rather an entirely new company. However he does have extensive experience of this sector as former CEO of Quigo, an ad start-up that sold to AOL in 2007 for a reported $360million.