The Inside Story of the Lily Drone’s Collapse

New submitter mirandakatz writes: Lily Robotics had everything: Two charismatic young founders; millions in funding; and a product that promised to change the world — or, at the very least, transform photography. But over 60,000 customers are still waiting for their Lily Drones, and the company is now being sued by the San Francisco District Attorney’s office for false advertising. As it turns out, Lily Robotics never actually had the right tools to create the product it was selling — and it all came crashing down. At Backchannel, Jessica Pishko has the untold story of how such a promising company went so wrong. From the report: “The magic of the Lily Drone was in its concept: It was a product you could unpack and throw — so easy, Antoine Balaresque, the cofounder and CEO of Lily Robotics, wrote in emails, that even an old person could do it. But translating that idea into a tangible product proved difficult, and the storytelling that made the Lily Drone so tantalizing to consumers ultimately factored into its downfall. In one of his presentations, Balaresque presented a PowerPoint slide with the sentence, ‘Humans have a fundamental need to put themselves in the center of stories.’ It appeared to be a quote he made up, but the idea that human nature needs stories is fundamental. Stories are how we make sense of our lives. But while a good story can get you funding and acclaim, ultimately it isn’t enough.”


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