Let’s start with a quick study in what makes a technology fail.
The CueCat was a much-hyped, well-funded and frankly terrible idea from the Internet boom days. The founding company raised about $250 million in big chunks from NBC, Forbes, Radio Shack and others. They bet that consumers would want to use a whiskered, mouse-like device to scan barcodes in newspapers and on Coke cans that linked to Web pages. Really. The whole thing folded up within a year of its September 2000 launch. Time later named it one of the 50 worst inventions.