A year and a half ago, my co-founder Dev Nag and I started an internet TV network for games called PlayCafe. Our ambitious plan was to run highly interactive game shows in which everyone was a contestant. Players could watch our hosts, answer questions, win prizes, form teams, call our studio, live chat, and run their own games. It was a huge undertaking, but despite great engagement — users watched for 87 minutes per session and 40 percent returned within a week — we didn’t reach enough users. We may revive it in the future, but for now, we’ve placed the site in hibernation and returned remaining funds to our investors.
What follows is a post-mortem of what we did right and wrong and how we will improve next time. I feel too many entrepreneurs are afraid to discuss their failures, locking up important lessons. I hope you find some of this useful.