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In 2010, three months after Pinterest launched, the site had only 3,000 users. But some of them were active users, and those people loved the site — and both of those categories included Silbermann himself.

“Instead of changing the product, I thought maybe I could just find people like me,” he said.

So Pinterest started to have meet-ups at local boutiques, and to take fun pictures of people who attended them, and to engage with bloggers to do invitation campaigns like “Pin It Forward,” where bloggers got more invites to the site by spreading the world.

  • SE

    Sean Ellis

    over 4 years ago #

    Great example of doing things that don't necessarily scale in the early days and doubling down on the type of people who already love the product - rather than tweaking based on feedback from those who don't love it yet.

    • PK

      pardeep kullar

      over 4 years ago #

      "doubling down on the type of people who already love the product - rather than tweaking based on feedback from those who don't love it yet"

      That should be framed and hung up. Almost seems counter-intuitive to ignore feedback and yet instinctively, it makes sense.

  • SL

    Stuart Langridge

    over 4 years ago #

    "There are many ways to succeed".

  • FA

    Faisal Al-Khalidi

    over 4 years ago #

    Also ties back to this great quote from Peter Thiel:

    "Poor distribution—not product—is the number one cause of failure. If you can get even a single distribution channel to work, you have great business. If you try for several but don’t nail one, you’re finished.

    • SW

      Samuel Woods

      over 4 years ago #

      Yeah, it's crazy how many startups figure they should emulate distribution strategies of multi-million/billion companies -- which is they think they need to "be everywhere".

      Uncover 1 primary channel first, that you can double-down on.

  • GB

    Giselle Bisson

    over 4 years ago #

    Good read. I like that marketing is so hard to predict.

  • DP

    Divyesh P.

    over 4 years ago #

    Focusing on niche audience while building product/ startup has become ultimate driver of growth.

    Focus on who loves what you do, first and likes will grow.

  • WE

    William Egan

    over 4 years ago #

    “Fundamentally, the future is unwritten. If they knew, they would be done,” Silbermann said.

    This line resonated the best with me.

  • CS

    Cara Sherratt

    over 4 years ago #

    I don't think engineering and marketing are mutually exclusive, I wouldn't have said you can have one without the other. Perhaps the growth of customer base was the work of marketing, however if if the engineering didn't form a solid base, that marketing would have been insufficient. You can't dress up a bad product and expect it to catch on - credit where credit is due to both departments!

  • JC

    Jane Cronin

    over 4 years ago #

    A great example of how building genuine connections with the right people is a winning tactic - and doing it by thinking about how you can offer them valuable and enjoyable experiences first, rather than just 'who is going to promote this?'