Segway Is Parting Ways

July 17, 2020

Failure is not an option, unless you’re a product because failure—it seems—is often par for the course. After all, you may have the best invention, but customers might not be ready to use it. Or it might cost too much to produce and therefore be too costly for customers to buy. From prototyping a product to getting it to market to selling it to people is a hard journey to complete; companies often try and fail. If you don’t believe us, you might want to check out this story about a museum that’s completely dedicated to failed products. Some of the most successful companies such as Coca Cola and Google have had their fair share of failures (Hi, Coke BlaK and Google glass!).

via Pixabay

In 1999, a new kind of personal transportation vehicle was invented. It was the buzz of the technology world. Why? It was very different from any other personal transportation vehicles out there. Manpower wasn’t needed to make it move. It wasn’t as long as a bicycle. And unlike a gas-guzzling motorcycle, it was powered by batteries and environmentally friendly. The Segway was a personal upright self-balancing electric vehicle that could be used both outdoors on city streets and in large indoor spaces such as shopping malls. So why did such a promising invention fail? First, it was expensive and only those who had the means could purchase them. When it first came on the market, it was priced at $5,000—the price of a used car. Second, while it was touted as the perfect street- and indoor-friendly transporter, parking it was a problem. At approximately 100 pounds, the Segway was too heavy to carry inside for storage, but there was no dedicated parking for Segways either. And lastly, it had a horrible brand image. What do we mean by that? Instead of feeling cool, people riding on their Segways felt rather foolish. After all, the Segway made them look pompous, lazy, and silly all at the same time. But perhaps what really sealed the fate of the Segway were high profile falls off of the vehicle—former US President George W. Bush was caught on camera falling while riding on his Segway. Earlier this summer, Segway, Inc. announced that they will no longer be making these personal transporters. Guess we’ll only be seeing these personal transporters in the Museum of Failures in the future.