The Non-Technical Way Pinterest Grew From 3,000 Users To The Web's Third-Largest Source Of Traffic

Divvya Silbermann

Photo: Web.stagram

While Pinterest is now the web’s third-largest traffic referrer, the photo collection site wasn’t always booming.CEO Ben Silbermann told the latest Y Combinator class on Saturday that his site only had 3,000 users three months after its launch. A lot of people didn’t understand Pinterest, and many VCs initially shot him down.

“There are lots of ways for investors to say no to you, and I’m pretty sure I’ve heard every single one,” AllThingsD’s Liz Gannes quotes the young co-founder.

Silbermann says he thought about hiring a Stanford genius to improve the site’s backend and boost traffic. But he realised robust technology wasn’t what his site needed to take off — it just needed better distribution.

Silbermann made it his mission to find more people like him, who could see the value in a creative, inspiration site like Pinterest. He held local meetups to bring like-minded individuals together and spark meaningful conversations surrounding his site. 

“Instead of changing the product, I thought maybe I could just find people like me,” Silbermann said. “A lot of people in Silicon Valley didn’t get, and I don’t know if they still get, Pinterest. The fact that it made sense to someone is what really mattered to me.”

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