17 Comments

As a former apple alum I find myself getting into the mistake that Humane's cofounders are also getting into. Just because you've built world class hardware in the past doesn't mean you are guaranteed to repeat it. The product needs to solve genuine user problems.

Expand full comment
author

Yes, relying on your name, and the hype your name generates, is a losing formula.

Expand full comment

Excellent article. You could extend this perspective to services as well. Last week I stayed at two hotels that “advertised” services that weren’t true. One said it had laundry service (I was on the road for a week) but when I arrived they said, “oh, only ever other day, and not today” (the day I was there mid trip). The other let me book and pay for a room on the “concierge lounge level” but when I arrived said, “Oh, the lounge isn’t open on Friday, Saturday or Sunday…” not was their laundry service. Both were major chain hotels of their premiere brands (Marriott and Hilton), not their bare-bones brands.

Of course there are “hotel reviews” but they have become largely useless because you have 2/10 right after 9/10 so there’s no authority in either. And the hoteliers know this, and keep on poorly delivering service. Sure, I’ll find different hotels in the future — but those two already got my money.

Something really broke over the last decade; doubly so since the pandemic. And companies are getting away with the most egregious tomfoolery to their customers…. With no end in sight.

Expand full comment
author

Great example. Had a similar experience last time I was in a hotel too, despite it being "well reviewed."

Unlike these new products - the solution is simply wait, research, then don't buy - it could be harder to solve things like services, because the research is hard to tell good from bad, most of the players are supposedly trusted, established brands, and yet you will still come off disappointed. In some cases, there isn't even alternatives. (Even AirBnb comes with it a whole host of different issues).

A totally broken system.

Expand full comment

Agree. It is a case study on how not to launch a product. Although I haven't used the product or know the team personally, the only point I'd like to make is that perhaps they went too broad. They might have been better off starting with use cases in niche B2B that solve specific problems for say nurses, police and first responders before opening it up to the wider market?

Expand full comment
author

But more the more specific you go, the less you can hype it up

Expand full comment

Yes exactly. My point is more if they focused less on the hype and more on less clamorous but relevant use cases it might have worked.

Expand full comment
author

That… would be smart thinking.

Expand full comment

I’m low-key obsessed with this whole thing. No, not the Humane AI pin – all that bluster and promise of transformation just reeked of vaporware, so I was unsurprised by the terrible reviews. I can’t stop thinking (and talking my poor husband’s ear off) about how people are attacking product reviewers who are simply telling the truth. It’s a bad product, and people trusted to review products are saying so. How is anyone coming out against that?

I can’t help but feel like this is just another example of the current quality of discourse: post-truth, gas-lighty, spinning. We’ve come to expect it with politics and climate science and gender and, and… so I shouldn’t be surprised about this. But, somehow, I still am. 😒

Expand full comment
author

That’s the thing that’s amazed me the most — backlash against someone telling the truth.

It’s important to consider that some of the more prominent responses have come from VCs, founder-types who need/want this kinda product to do well so they can keep them coming, and some are from Humane themselves who are obviously trying to save face.

But anyone else defending them, or hitting out at reviewers, have lost their minds.

Expand full comment

Great article. It irritates me so much when companies think they can slip these abominations of products through without us noticing that they don’t even work.

Expand full comment
author

Yeah. An awful, shitty practice, that will continue to happen as long as the consumer allows it too

Expand full comment
Apr 21Liked by Stephen Moore

Fab title!

Expand full comment
author

Fab title; shitty practice.

Expand full comment

I have heard of things like this happening but didn’t realize how rampant in video games this was. I guess, like most things in a competitive market, unless a better product comes to replace it or people complain enough to kill it, this practice will remain

Expand full comment
author

Yeah, off the top of my head, I can think of Anthem, Fallout 76, Redfall, that daft new Gollum game, Forspoken, even things like Starfield and No Man’s Sky launched not as promised. In gaming there is also the awful movie licence stuff which is always bad beyond belief, yet still gets pushed out. (You should watch some videos from the newest King Kong video game, and bare in mind, it cost full price)

Expand full comment

I will definitely check out that King Kong game, seeing things that bad actually get sent out is always a good laugh for me. Especially because you know it wasn’t an accident, and had to go through multiple phases of bosses, managers, and game testers all who said “good enough”. Really poor look and unprofessional

Expand full comment