The best pivots in Internet history tell the tales of the tech startups who began their journey to the top as one type of company then made a drastic change for the better. It's hard to think about a world without Internet giants like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, but without their well-timed pivots, they'd be much different from the companies we know today.
It may not be common knowledge, but many of the websites, social networks
and online services that we all use daily almost never happened. Before logging into your Facebook account first thing in the morning, think about what might have been if the company remained a site to pick which of two faces were hottest. Imagine how you'd discover viral videos and listen to your favorite music had YouTube remained a video dating site. Try to comprehend how you'd get your news and hear when your coworker checked into Starbucks on Foursquare had the founders of Twitter stuck to their original idea of a home for podcasts.
It's hard to believe that all of these successful companies came from pivots but more companies than most would expect actually came as a second attempt. Before pioneering mobile phones Nokia produced everything from rubber boots to chemicals. Decades before becoming a leader in gaming Nintendo had ill-advised attempts at producing playing cards, operating a taxi service and even ran adult hotels first.
For startups, knowing when to pivot is perhaps one of the trickiest and most emotional parts of the job but as these successful Internet companies
have proved, sometimes when things aren't going so well, changing course can be the key between becoming second fiddle to Foursquare, like the original version of Instagram, to becoming a property swooped up for a billion dollars, like the highly successful photo sharing platform that Instagram became.
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