Running The Marathon
It’s common saying in the Valley that your idea will fail and constant production iterations are inevitable. However, when taking a quick glance around, all we talk about are the instant successes. Facebook seemed to have taken off from the getgo. Twitter was always about status updates. And Google was web search from day one. Sure, business plans are still in the works (I’ll save that for another post), but the killer feature seemed to have been there from the beginning. This is awesome, yet, at the same time, depressing for the many entrepreneurs who are still out there grinding day in and day out.
While the media likes to highlight the home-runs, there are plenty of startups running the marathon one leg at a time. So, I decided to take a look around at some startups that morphed since its beginnings and are making good progress forward.
Iminlikewithyou.com is an interesting website that gives you casual flash games. The idea started as a flirting/dating site with twist. Originally, users would bid on each other, in attempts to woo the opposite sex. Since then, the founders have refocused the site on casual gaming. My favorite is “Blockles,” where is basically Tetris with items. Frankly, I have wasted hours of my life playing this addicting game. In a nice way, you can still find the original social features still present on the site. You can friend, chat, and connect with people on the site.
Iminlikewithyou has raised at least $1.5 since its founding. While the website is still relatively unknown compared to the other big players, it’s making progress. Surprisingly, my “mainstream” friends discovered the site before I did, and it’s definitely got me as an user.
Chegg is a online textbook rentals company. Never being a textbook kind of a guy (whatever that means), I’ll have to admit I’m not a user of the website. Originally, the site started as an online classified for colleges. In other words, college craigslist. I have been following this site because I started out with the same idea in college. What was especially hard was reaching critical mass within a college. A large public university has about 20k undergraduates, and you would need a big portion of that community for the website to be meaningful.
Now as a textbook rentals company, it’s claimed to have save students $19k (as of Feb 2, 2009). Since its founding in 2003, the site has raised $27M and the co-founder is still there. Again, like many other startups, there’s still work to be done, but I’m excited about its future. I hope the idea works out. I hated paying for all those textbooks.
While the huge success stories are inspirational, chances are you won’t get a home-run right away. Remember that there are tons of other companies out there that are more like you.