‘Shark Tank’: Mark Cuban Says This Product Has the Worst Execution in Show History
The entrepreneurial spirit in America is through the roof right now thanks to Shark Tank inspiring more people to create products no one’s yet seen. A major problem with that, though, is the tendency to rush products into the marketplace without properly beta testing them so it doesn’t lead to embarrassing recalls later.
A few products the sharks invested in ended up having some problems in this arena, yet one really stands out now. If you remember back to Season 5, you’ll recall a man named Charles Michael Yim who pitched a breathalyzer product you could attach to your smartphone.
It was designed to hail a cab at the push of a button if you had too much alcohol.
At the time, it looked novel and useful. While the sharks bit on it, the product has since seen trouble through the FTC.
Were the sharks duped in the initial pitch?
Go back in time to 2013 when Shark Tank was in its fifth season. You’ll probably remember that infamous pitch by Yim to the shark team about this breathalyzer called BreathOmeter.
Yim’s pitch seemed compelling at the time, not including capturing the immediate attention of the famous investors.
They were immediately sold on it and ended up doing a group investment as a show first. For whatever reason, they didn’t stop to question whether the technology would really make the breathalyzer offer truly accurate results.
Not that the product was intended merely to test one’s alcohol level. There was also tech inside to determine if a person’s breath has too many volatile sulfur compounds.
Initially, the company made a $5 million profit, but the FTC requested a recall back in 2017, including ordering the company to offer refunds to anyone who purchased the device.
All of this was the result of a settlement the company worked out with the FTC. With Mark Cuban heading the company, he’s since looked back in disdain at the pitch and the execution behind getting it out to consumers.
How much regret do the sharks have for taking on the product?
Not long ago, the Shark Tank cast shot a video looking back at their favorite pitches over the last decade. Many of the pitches they recalled ended up making the sharks and the company owners a lot of money.
Somehow, the BreathOmeter ended up on their most memorable list. It appears the shark reminiscence video was done after the FTC fiasco, outside of no one mentioning the ordered refunds.
Many fans of the show today wonder why the sharks jumped on the product so fast without further testing. Even the FTC gave out warnings to any entrepreneurs putting out similar products.
There never was sufficient testing done, plus failure by the company to take immediate action against the product after being called out.
The company isn’t dead, though. Since it still has the backing of the famous sharks, it’s going to focus on the poor oral hygiene aspect, which they call Mint.
Are the sharks playing more risk by taking on tech products?
Mark Cuban and his fellow sharks have scoped out the BreathOmeter as having bad execution. Regardless, Cuban knows a lot about tech and how to make similar products become successful.
In this case, there was a little bump in the road the company can now likely smooth over. What about future products with seemingly can’t-miss potential?
When a product could literally save lives, it’s easy to get wrapped up in a convincing pitch, hence perhaps investing just a little too soon.
The sharks are usually very astute to the marketplace and any potential issues arising down the line. There’s always the chance they might be duped again and end up taking on a product proving dangerous to the public when it’s meant to be helpful.
As sharp as the sharks are to what consumers need in the way of products, the excitement of something big has already proven to bring a blind eye to potential overlooked pitfalls.