List of companies that had successful pivots

List of companies that had successful pivots
Company Now Early days Reason for pivot Source
whatsapp WhatsApp Messaging app App that would show statuses for other people like “On the flight to Munich, send email instead of calling me.” Users started using it to ping each other with statuses like, “I woke up late,” or “I’m on my way.” At some point it sort of became instant messaging. source
youtube Youtube Video-sharing platform Dating website for single people to make videos introducing themselves and saying what they were looking Despite offering to pay women $20 to upload videos of themselves to YouTube, nobody came forward. So they decided to remove the “dating” part and allow all types of videos. source
slack Slack Instant messaging platform Browser-based massively multiplayer online game called Glitch. “Glitch has not attracted an audience large enough to sustain itself.” The next best idea they had was to productize and market an internal communications tool that they had built to run Glitch. source
instagram Instagram Photo-sharing social network A mobile app called Burbn that let you: check in to locations, make plans, earn points, post pictures, and much more. They wanted to focus on being really good at one thing. So they basically cut everything in the Burbn app except for its photo, comment, and like capabilities source
twitter Twitter Microblogging service Podcasting platform called Odeo. Apple released iTunes that took all the podcasting market. Odeo realized the danger, and they started holding official hackathons to search for new products; one of them became Twitter. source
shopify Shopify eCommerce platform Snowdevil, an online store for snowboarding equipment. Dissatisfied with the existing e-commerce products on the market, Lütke, instead built his own. source
netflix Netflix Streaming service Online DVD rental store sent by mail. Netflix had considered offering movies online, but there were speeds and bandwith problem in mid-2000. After discovering YouTube, and witnessing how popular streaming services, they introduced video on demand via internet. source
yelp Yelp Places recommendation service Email-based referral network to ask friends for place recommendation. Users were not answering requests for referrals, but were using the “Real Reviews” feature, which allowed them to write reviews unsolicited. source
nintendo Nintendo Video game company Playing card company. Nintendo experimented in other areas of business like: taxi company, hotel chain, TV network, instant rice; but none of them were succesful. Then they tried to focus on video games. source
paypal Paypal Online payment system Mobile encryption service -> Payment between PDA -> Web payment For the encryption service, they didn’t want to be dependent on others to build application. For the PDA payment, not everyone had a PDA. source
flickr Flickr Photo sharing community Massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) called Neverending They focused on a photo-sharing feature developed for Neverending. In the early days, no one knew how to store the pictures they took. Most photo sites were more about uploading your pictures in hope you would pay to have them printed. source
groupon Groupon Online deal marketplace The Point, a web platform based on the “tipping point” principle that would utilize social media to get people together to accomplish a goal. The Point was intended to organize people around some sort of cause or goal. It gained only modest traction in Chicago until a group of users decided their cause would be saving money. They wanted to round up people to buy the same product in order to receive a group discount. source
nokia Nokia Mobile phone and tech Producing rubber Invented a lot and diverse range of products source
play_doh Play-Doh Toys for kids Wall cleaner The market for wallpaper cleaning putty decreased substantially. They had seen a newspaper article about making art projects with the wallpaper cleaning putty, and the students enjoyed it. source
western_union Western Union International money transfer One of the largest telegram service company Decline of telegraphy source
android Android Operating system for mobile phone Operating system for digital cameras The company then decided that the market for cameras was not large enough for its goals source
bioware BioWare Video game company Medical simulation program The founders relaxed by playing computer games and they realized that this was where their passion was. The medical field was satisfying and lucrative, but it was time for the group to move on. source
segment Segment Customer Data Platform Classroom lecture tool When the product was deployed in the classroom, all the students opened their laptop and went straight to Facebook instead of using the program. source

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“Simplicity, patience, compassion.
These three are your greatest treasures.
Simple in actions and thoughts, you return to the source of being.
Patient with both friends and enemies,
you accord with the way things are.
Compassionate toward yourself,
you reconcile all beings in the world.”
― Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching