Ah, the pivot, a term that is as equally overused as it is misunderstood. Just like a pivot in basketball, sometimes you break your ankle, sometimes you slam dunk it. Consider these companies the Michael Jordans and Tim Duncans of the pivot.
A rundown of the greatest pivots in recent history.
1. YouTube – It’s crazy to think that YouTube has only existed since 2005. What’s crazier is that it was purchased a year later (by Google) for $1.65 billion. Today YouTube is the #2 website in the world and the #2 search engine in the world (behind only Google), but it actually started off as a video dating website. Nobody really cared, but management noticed that people had begun to share a variety of video content and the rest is history.
2. PayPal – The spark that lit the ecommerce revolution, PayPal started out as a mobile-encryption service prior to focusing on cash transactions on Palm Pilots. Around that same time PayPal became the preferred payment method for eBay users and that’s when things really took off. Today PayPal is the leading tool for web-based payments and is worth over $47 billion. Stinks to be #2 on this list, but PayPal can take solace in the fact that #1 YouTube was started by former PayPal employees.
3. Pixar – Shout out to Steve Jobs here. The brilliant Apple co-founder bought into the business when it called The Graphics Group in 1985. At that time the company was a producer of graphics-oriented computers and was owned by LucasFilm. It was Jobs who lead the pivot toward software and from there it was onto producing animated films. Toy Story was released in 1995 and Pixar’s films have generated $10 billion since.
4. Instagram – Initially named Burbn, a Foursquare-like check in app and meetup service, until co-founder Kevin Systrom realized that picture sharing was the only feature being used. They axed the rest of the app and focused on picture sharing and picture sharing only and today you can see what strangers across the world had for lunch. 500 million users and 95 million uploads a day can’t be wrong.
5. Flickr – A husband and wife sought out to develop online games in the early 2000’s, one feature they developed let users save images and it became so popular they abandoned gaming and focused on building a photo sharing platform. Flickr became the #1 website for digital photos and was purchased in 2005 by Yahoo.
Carl De Lucia – Digital Marketer and Web Developer – Thanks for checkin’ the blog.