Lessons from Jibo, Kuri and Willow Garage

Wednesday 1, 2023

As a founder of an innovation company in the field of robotics, AI, and automation, it is important to learn from the failures of previous companies in the industry. Companies like Kuri, Jibo, and Willow Garage have all faced challenges and ultimately failed. Here are five lessons we can learn from their experiences.

Lesson 1: Focus on the user experience – According to Ayanna Howard, a roboticist at Georgia Tech, one of the biggest issues with Kuri and Jibo was that they didn’t deliver a compelling enough user experience. In an interview with Wired, Howard stated, “You’re asking people to bring a robot into their home, and they’re not cheap. So, they have to be useful, usable, and enjoyable.”

Lesson 2: Don’t overpromise and underdeliver – Jibo and Kuri both made big promises about what their robots could do, but they didn’t deliver on those promises. As Sarah Abboud, a former spokesperson for Jibo, said in an interview with The Verge, “The company promised more than it could deliver, and that’s a really hard thing to come back from.”

Lesson 3: Be clear about your market and value proposition – Willow Garage was a pioneer in the field of robotics, but they struggled to find a clear market and value proposition for their products. As Rodney Brooks, the former director of the MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, stated in an interview with The New York Times, “It wasn’t clear what their business was.”

Lesson 4: Keep costs under control – Both Kuri and Jibo were expensive to produce, and they ultimately couldn’t sell enough units to make up for their high production costs. As Kate Darling, a research specialist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, said in an interview with The Washington Post, “There’s a disconnect between the price point and what people are willing to pay for a robot.”

Lesson 5: Build a sustainable business model – Willow Garage was a research organization, and they struggled to turn their research into a sustainable business model. As Steve Cousins, the former CEO of Willow Garage, said in an interview with Forbes, “We were great at building cool robots, but we didn’t know how to turn that into a business.”

At ingen, we are doing things differently. We are focused on delivering a compelling user experience, and we are being clear about our market and value proposition. We are also keeping our costs under control, and we have a sustainable business model that we believe will allow us to succeed where other companies have failed.

As John Underkoffler, the CEO of Oblong Industries, said in an interview with Wired, “It’s a tough market, but there are opportunities for companies that are focused on delivering real value to customers.” At ingen, we are confident that we can deliver that value, and we are excited to be a part of the future of robotics, AI, and automation.


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