Pivoting vs. Creating Something New

After the success of WhereMyFriends.Be which is both awesome and surprising we are faced with an interesting question. Being on Mashable and CNN has both upped our visibility and our credibility to a certain extent. Additionally we now have a pretty large database of users with 12 thousand signups and over 1,000,000 friends mapped.

The problem with WhereMyFriends.Be is that it is very much a single serving app. You go to the landing page, you sign up, see your map, post to your Twitter and then your friends use it. You will most likely never come back. This means that in its existing form it’s not really an option for a long-term project. The question then becomes: what should we do with our new visibility and userbase?

Should we A. pivot our existing product to somehow make it into a viable startup/business?

Or B. pursue some of our other ideas which have more long-term potential?

The problem with option A is that we don’t really have an idea to pivot our product which could make it into a business. We have a few ways that we think we can make people come back, but they really aren’t all that groundbreaking.

The problem with option B is that we might not be using our existing user base in the best way possible and because we would be leveraging our credibility on a project that won’t necessarily succeed.

I personally prefer option B but I wonder if it’s really the best course of action. What do you guys think?

28 Feb 2011, 4:33am | 5 comments

  • mockint

    I think you will get your answer soon. I am using http://www.favoritething.me/mockint to collect feedback about my website. Lets see how my users react.

  • Vincent

    Pardon my two cents. I think you could combine your idea with popstay.com.Their idea might be a more usable airbnb, with trust from friends and acquaintances on facebook/linkedin, and what could they do to find out where their friends and acquaintances are and have been?

  • Dan Shipper

    Vincent that’s really interesting maybe we will reach out to them. Thanks foro the tip!

  • Dan Shipper

    @mockint let me know how it goes! My twitter is @danshipper

  • Greg Gentschev

    I think you should go for some kind of pivot. You already have some decent growth, which isn’t just valuable in its own right but also as a signal that you know what you’re doing (even if you really don’t). You have some technology and a good number of users.Based on that, there are tons of different ways to think about pivots. I think the point is just to take some asset or capability from WhereMyFriends. Be forward to the next app. It could be the user segment, the tech know-how, or whatever. As far as getting inspiration, try polling your users and talking to them. Figure out if there’s some common need or interest that ties them together and that you can address.Good luck!


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