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How pivoting their product strategy made these companies giants
The beginnings of Slack, Shopify, Twitter and Instagram
Some of the biggest products ever built didn’t start the way you think. And if these products didn’t decide to change, they would’ve probably died a long time ago.
Before Slack was Slack, it was Glitch, a massive online multiplayer game. When Glitch wasn’t working, the team pivoted into communication, something that was indeed working inside Glitch. This re-focus allowed Slack to be sold to Salesforce for $27B.
Before Shopify was Shopify, it was Snowdevil, a snowboard shop. When the founders of Shopify couldn’t easily get an e-commerce set up to sell their snowboard gear, they decided to build their own tools, which would become a platform for millions of future businesses. This re-focus allowed Shopify to hit $200B market cap.
Before Twitter was Twitter, it was ODEO, a podcast search engine. When ODEO wasn’t gaining traction, (in large reason due to Apple’s Itunes), the founders decided to experiment in a new field of social content: text. This re-focus allowed Twitter to be sold to Elon Musk for $44B.
Before Instagram was Instagram, it was Burbn, a social check-in app (remember Foursquare?). Even though check-in was growing, the founders saw that the most engaged users were mostly posting real-time photos of places. This re-focus allowed Instagram to be sold to Facebook for $1B and now estimated to be worth more than $100B.
Every single one of these pivots share a common trait: they simplified their product based on something their users (or the founders) did above all else.
And in a time where resources are scarcer, and the clock is turning faster every day, re-focusing your product strategy could be the way into something much bigger (including surviving).