Ideas come and go in the world of business. They change over time, moving from one concept to another. Startups are constantly throwing ideas against the wall to see what sticks. But ultimately, many ideas never gain any traction.
When businesses realize their idea isn’t going anywhere, it even happens to us at Fueled, they have to reposition themselves. Entrepreneurs have to have the awareness and agility to change the direction of their business ideas quickly. Many of the most successful companies hit success once they overcame weaknesses and repositioned themselves in their industries.
The following are four well-known examples of how the ability to evolve led to huge gains.
Instagram Opts for Simplicity
Instagram first came to light as Burbn, a check-in service similar to Foursquare. Its purpose was to allow users to earn points by checking in at locations, make plans with connected friends, and share photos. But after its initial design, CEO Kevin Systrom decided to redirect the company’s efforts into something simpler.
Rather than do a variety of different things, which the founders believed only cluttered the application, Burbn shifted its energy into improving the quality of one service. In the end, the sharing of photos was what remained after all other features were eliminated.
Instagram was born.
It has since been purchased by Facebook for $1 billion, and boasts over 200 million users.
Twitter Shortens the Message
The first signs of Twitter’s life were in the startup called Odeo. The company’s primary objective was to create a platform that allowed users to record and distribute podcasts. As innovative as this was, Apple’s iTunes, as well as others, soon came along and took the wind out of Odeo’s sails.
Once Odeo realized it had to shift gears, Jack Dorsey pitched an idea of communicating with small groups via SMS and so Twitter was born. Soon, the new social media site spawned the growth of “micro-blogging” which led to its role in helping break world news and trends faster than ever.
It now has over 645 million active users and is still growing.
A Mobile Giant
Nokia wasn’t always known for its mobile phones like it is today. It began as a paper mill in Finland, but after changing industries, it eventually grew into one of the largest mobile phone companies in the world.
Shortly after opening its second mill along the Nokianvirta River, establishing the Nokia name, the company moved into producing tires and boots as part of its rubber business.
Nokia moved into electronics in the early 1900’s, and by the 1960’s was producing pulse analyzers for power plants and radiotelephones that were used by the military.
When Europe adopted the Global System for Mobile communications, which Nokia helped to develop, it was firmly established as a leader in mobile communication. The company began focusing solely on telecommunication products for mobile revolution and went on to become a power player in the evolving industry.
Instagram, Twitter and Nokia are examples of the natural evolution that companies go through on the path to success. This leads to new ideas that overcome weaknesses, innovate industries, and transform the world.
Diana Zelikman is a journalism intern at Fueled.