Beyond Oblivion was a music startup. It was supposed to change the music industry by bundling unlimited songs with new phones — consumers would never pay a dime.
But the company flamed out in classic fashion earlier this year, declaring bankruptcy and taking more than $33 million worth of investors’ money with it. It never released a product.
Eliot Van Buskirk at Evolver.fm has the full glorious tale of how it blew up.
His conclusion: the idea was fine, but the company was sunk by the crazy tactics of CEO Adam Kidron.
One former employee told Van Buskirk, “The CEO was insane, and that’s why the business failed.”
Some of the best parts:
- Kidron reportedly spent $500,000 on consultants to come up with an awful product name: BOINC. Every partner they spoke to hated it, and would have used something different. But still, Kidron was so in love with the name, he wanted to hire beautiful women to walk around CES this year with “wanna boinc?” on their t-shirts and panties.
- He apparently blew more than $25,000 a month on travel, as he globetrotted to try and get licensing and hardware deals set up. (At least he flew coach. The company also paid between 5 and 10 experts $10,000 per month for advice, says the report.
- He allegedly hired a Steve Jobs impersonator to interrupt meetings between Beyond Oblivion and partners at the 2011 CES show, and to roam the floor fooling people. Parts of the stunt were filmed, but the film was only ever shown to employees, says the report.
- He reportedly paid a famous comic book illustrator to create a graphic novel and video about the future of music. It featured a “young urban” character standing on a pile of MP3 players.
The best part? Kidron is still paying himself a salary of $325,000 a year while he figures out how to get the project back off the ground, according to a former employee talking to Van Buskirk.