10 Tech Disasters That Would Make Great Streaming Shows
One of the hottest topics on prestige television these days is the weaknesses and failings of what were once world-changing tech startups. Showtime has super pumped, about Uber. Hulu has The stall about Theranos. This month sees the launch of We crashed on Apple TV+, chronicling the meteoric rise and fall of office space-sharing company WeWork. But what other tech company sagas are ripe for dramatic reinterpretations? Here are our picks for 10 tech sagas pulled from the headlines.
Crowdfunding has created a world where all sorts of great ideas can become reality if enough people buy into it. But it also created a bunch of scams and frauds. One of the most notorious projects of all time is the Triton, billed as the world’s first “artificial gills” that would allow people to extract oxygen from water and swim submerged for long periods of time. This is not yet scientifically possible, and the initiative collapsed under scrutiny shortly after being submerged. Watching inventors frantically try to make their product work while battling angry journalists and backers would be a fun sight.
Competing in the cell phone market seems like a wild ride, but companies keep rising to the occasion and trying it. One of the most notorious in recent history is Saygus, a Utah-based company that claimed to be about to launch a revolutionary new mobile device until the U.S. Attorney’s Office charged its CEO, Chad Sayers. , fraud. Sayers managed to get over $10 million from investors, which he allegedly used for all kinds of crazy personal spending. Watching people frantically try to hide their misdeeds is great television, because viewers of shows like ozark know, so the Saygus saga is ripe.
The story of Napster is one of the founding stories of the Internet. The World Wide Web was designed to allow people to connect and share information, but when that information was something big corporations wanted people to keep paying for, like music, things got serious very quickly. . Record labels and artists like Metallica rallied against the company, opening a discussion about media rights, the sharing economy and more, before multiple lawsuits forced them to take it offline. Without the rise and fall of Napster, there would be no streaming music at all.
The early boom and bust of the dot-coms was a fertile time for crazies to spend money like it was going out of style – and what could be more stylish than British fashion retailer Boo? Featuring a dynamic “virtual assistant” named Miss Boo and a marketing budget of $135 million, the site was too massive for the 56K modems of the day and a disaster to actually use. The intersection of youth culture and an internet struggling to keep up, along with the massive parties and other expenses racked up in the business, would make for a great series.
The electric vehicle market is one of the most competitive spaces of the 21st century, as emerging companies compete with industry titans as they move away from gasoline. Obviously, Tesla is the market leader there, but there are others, including the oddly named Nikola, founded in 2014 by a man named Trevor Milton. They showed many electric truck prototypes and gained enough trust to sign a partnership with General Motors. Unfortunately, two days after the announcement, a report alleging massive fraud by Milton was released, claiming that most of what they advertised was non-functional or misleading. In the report, it was revealed that one of the company’s electric truck promotional videos actually showed the vehicle driving down a slight incline, not moving under its own power. Milton has left the company, but the remaining employees are still trying to persevere and meet their contractual obligations.
The media industry is full of goofy characters spending massive amounts of money, and no story shows it like Quibi. Launched in April 2020 by former Disney Chairman Jeffrey Katzenberg and HP CEO Meg Whitman, the gimmick was a video for the Zoomer generation: short, vertical, and “trendy.” They’ve raised over $1 billion in funding and funneled it into 175 original shows and movies ranging from bizarre to deeply horrifying. Less than a year later, Quibi was finished – the service shut down in January and sold its library to Roku. This story has it all: pride, absurdity and Chrissy Teigen in a people’s court to restart.
The gaming industry is one that rewards big bets, and the Gizmondo seemed like a sure thing. Coming from electronics maker Tiger, it felt like a slam dunk – powerful, Bluetooth-enabled, capable of sending and receiving text messages, and the list goes on. But the rollout was a huge disaster, with huge parties, celebrity endorsements and just eight games. Tiger spent the money like crazy, even once buying a modeling agency, and behind the scenes things were weird and chaotic. Add in Gizmondo Europe director Stefan Erikkson’s Swedish mob connections and an ultra-rare Ferrari crash, and you have a wild story indeed.
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Anti-aging technology is a hot topic, as the 1% seek to defeat death by every method they can find. One of the more worrying methods involves resorting to blood transfusions, the idea being that recycling red substances has many health benefits. California startup Ambrosia was one of the most notable, offering youth plasma transfusions for $8,000 a liter (or $12,000 for two liters, if you want to buy in bulk). After a warning from the FDA, Ambrosia shut down, but the blood-selling business is just an incredibly weird idea for a show.
9. Video game crash of 1983
Going a little retro, one of the most fascinating periods in gaming history came after its heyday. The Atari 2600 dominated arcades across America in the early 1980s, but within a few years competition had become so intense that the entire industry was on the verge of collapse. Getting into the companies furiously trying to carve out a slice of the oversaturated market like Coleco and Mattel, along with the cashiers and scammers on the periphery, would be a lot of fun.
10. Mount Gox
The world of cryptocurrency is full of scams, frauds, and other nonsense, but that’s nothing new. One of the most notorious disasters in the space happened in 2014, when Bitcoin was still the new trend. This was Mt. Gox, a website originally created to allow people to trade Magic: The Gathering online maps. The site reinvented itself as a way to buy and sell Bitcoin in 2010, but a few years later a massive hack caused the site to shut down. More … than $450 million in Bitcoin disappeared, and the collapse sent huge reverberations through space. A financial crime of this magnitude must have fascinating and bizarre characters both to perpetrate it and to investigate.
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