Why The Daily Failed

About two years ago, when NewsCorp launched the iPad app and news organization called The Daily, I wrote a rather long post pointing out why it was misguided crap (even though I said it wasn’t) —  but, hey, it employed 100 journalists and was at least better than another really awful idea,  so if Rupert Murdoch wanted to throw away his investors’ money, what did I care?, I observed.

The venture failed. Surprise.

Many people are arm-chair quarterbacking the demise of the venture and coming up with theories that are, frankly, implying that it could have ever succeeded. It was doomed before it was ever even an idea.

Here’s the reason it failed: No one in something called “the audience” cared that it succeeded.  Let me put that more clearly: It did not matter to anyone who really matters when it comes to the success of a media business venture. Or any venture, for that matter.

No matter how seemingly brilliant any idea, or how deep the pockets of any backers, or even how talented and brilliant the people executing the idea — if it doesn’t matter to anyone called “audience,” or “user,” or “reader,” or my favorite, “customer,” then it really doesn’t matter.

Things that don’t matter to anyone called any of those things fail.

Check the history books, or Wikipedia. I’m sure you’ll discover that “not mattering to customers” is the leading cause of failure by multi-billionaires who believe any idea they dream up will succeed.