Since 1996, the Wayback Machine has been archiving cached pages of websites, unfortunately for Pisys this means that we can’t pretend that we never tried to launch an online food delivery service about 15 years before online food ordering was a ‘thing’ – in the interests of full disclosure here’s the evidence:
http://web.archive.org/web/20010401133503/http://www.web-waiter.com:80/ – this dates back to 2001
Since you’re probably not seeing webwaiter adverts everywhere you look you can probably guess it didn’t work.
Much as I’d love to explain in detail why relying on fax machines in take-aways as an ordering mechanism wasn’t a great idea, I have to move on – there are more adventures to describe. Actually we enjoyed WebWaiter – it didn’t really lose any money and it gave us exposure to a lot of really cool technology.
How about an online system to allow recording and reporting of children’s school performance – released just a couple of years before schools had reliable internet connections.
Since we didn’t have a ‘whatonearthareyoudoing’ machine then I can only look back and say that we probably shouldn’t have taken on either of these projects, but they weren’t total failures – they got us valuable exposure to the brave new world of web apps, and they helped us create the Saas culture which now forms the core of our product philosophy – of course back then it was just called ‘rental’ which at least is a proper word.
Our real failures have all centred around hiring; mainly hiring good people but then not managing them correctly – these days we’re better at not doing that. We’re still attracted to the occasional adventure though.