The 15 Greatest Tech Pivots Ever

mark zuckerberg

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Very few people get it right the first time.If you find yourself needing to change your business’s direction or revenue model, know that you’re in good company.

Names like Zuckerberg and brands like Twitter have all had to make some adjustments to how their businesses operate.

And in these cases, the pivot paid off nicely.

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[slide
permalink=”groupon-1″
title=”Groupon”
content=”Then: It started as ThePoint.com, a site launched in November 2007 that lets you start a campaign asking people to give money or do something as a group – but only once a ‘tipping point’ of people agree to participate.

Now: Groupon is the popular group-buying site that helps people save money all over the country.

Worth: Potential valuation of up to $25 billion.”
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[slide
permalink=”instagram-2″
title=”Instagram”
content=”Then: The founders had built a location-based service called Burbn, most comparable to Foursquare. You could check into locations, earn points for hanging out with their friends, and share pictures inside of the app.

Now: Instagram is a hugely popular app for adding artsy filters to your photos and sharing them over Facebook and Twitter.

Worth: Not known, but likely more than $20 million.”
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[slide
permalink=”flickr-3″
title=”Flickr”
content=”Then: It was Game Neverending, a massively multiplayer online roleplaying game that ran from 2002-2004.

Now: Flickr is one of the go-to sites for sharing photos online, popular among amateur and professional photographers.

Worth: Sold to Yahoo in 2007 for $40 million.

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[slide
permalink=”facebook-4″
title=”Facebook”
content=”Then: It was Facemash, a site comparable to HotOrNot.com, putting two pictures of people next to each other and asking the user to identify which one was ‘hotter.’

Now: It’s Facebook. If you don’t have an account and use it actively, you’ve at least heard of it.

Worth: Around $50 billion.”
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[slide
permalink=”twitter-5″
title=”Twitter”
content=”Then: It was Odeo, a service that revolved around personal podcasting and sharing audio content.

Now: It’s Twitter. People use it to share thoughts and updates in 140-character bursts.

Worth: More than $5 billion.”
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[slide
permalink=”paypal-6″
title=”PayPal”
content=”Then: It started as Confinity, a cryptography company designed for exchanging money over Palm Pilots. It didn’t work well, but they did identify the lucrative market space of enabling people to take credit card payments.

Now: PayPal is the brand-name way to pay for items online.

Worth: Acquired by eBay in 2002 for $1.5 billion.”
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[slide
permalink=”apple-7″
title=”Apple”
content=”Then: They were a company that revolved around selling elementary computer kits.

Now: They make their own computers. No assembly required.

Worth: It recently passed a $300 billion valuation and is the world’s second most valuable company.”
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[slide
permalink=”gowalla-8″
title=”Gowalla”
content=”Then: It was Alamofire, a company that developed games for social networks.

Now: Gowalla is its own social network that allows users to check in to locations and earn virtual rewards by participating.

Worth: The most current data is from 2009, when it was valued at $30 million.”
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[slide
permalink=”rapt-9″
title=”rapt”
content=”Then: Started as supply-chain management optimization for high-tech manufacturers.

Now: Shifted to dynamic ad price optimization for online media companies.

Worth: They were bought by Microsoft for a price that wasn’t disclosed.”
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/4dc1b3f4ccd1d58b1c170000″
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[slide
permalink=”microsoft-10″
title=”Microsoft”
content=”Then: They created BASIC interpreters for the Altair 8800.

Now: They became the architects behind Windows in 1984 and it’s now the most popular operating system in the world.

Worth: $215 billion market cap.

image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/4d3e389a49e2ae2f5c130000″
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[slide
permalink=”seesmic-11″
title=”Seesmic”
content=”Then: They started as a video-based Twitter, enabling users to broadcast brief video clips.

Now: They develop clients to enable mobile devices to use Twitter and Facebook.

Worth: Unknown, but they’ve raised $16 million to date.”
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[slide
permalink=”youtube-12″
title=”YouTube”
content=”Then: It was a video dating site!

Now: YouTube is the go-to location for internet video.

Worth: It was acquired by Google for $1.65 billion in stock.”
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[slide
permalink=”pandora-13″
title=”Pandora”
content=”Then: It was a music recommendation service that only suggested artists you might enjoy.

Now: It’s the hugely popular internet radio station tailored to your tastes.

Worth: Roughly $1 billion.”
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[slide
permalink=”nokia-14″
title=”Nokia”
content=”Then: Founded in Finland in 1865, Nokia was a rubber company that made galoshes and other products.

Now:They’re a communications company that makes their name with mobile phones.

Worth: $34.73 billion market cap.

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[slide
permalink=”sony-15″
title=”Sony”
content=”Then: They made home goods. The first Sony product was a rice cooker, and they soon rolled out a heating blanket.

Now: They’re a formidable electronics company with a hand in cameras, video games, computer monitors, and even televisions.

Worth: $81.9 billion (adjusted from yen).”
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[slide
permalink=”maybe-your-current-business-model-is-doing-fine-16″
title=”Maybe your current business model is doing fine.”
content=”Here’s 10 new trends that could change your business anyway >>
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