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The Reason the Segway Was a Massive Failure
Before it launched in 2001, the Segway was wildly hyped-up. Not only was there intense secrecy surrounding the invention and close attention from Silicon Valley A-listers like Steve Jobs and Jeff Bezos, but also cryptic messages in the media, for example, pioneering computer engineer Bob Metcalf claimed the product was “more important than the Internet.”
However, when the original Segway PT was finally unveiled on live TV during the December 3, 2001 edition of "Good Morning America," the anticipated collective swoon turned into a great big, "Huh?" To the general public, the product industry insiders had hoped might do for sidewalks what the car did for city streets looked like a big adult scooter.
Although the market for potential Segway buyers was theoretically huge, the brand’s marketing strategy was too broad, failing to clearly define its target audience, and Segway found itself wedged into the wider transportation device market as a niche product. Ultimately, deflated hype and faulty marketing delivered a one-two punch to Segway.