You Have What it Takes to Create the Next Web Sensation

Hey, you! Yeah, the one who’s wasting hours upon hours scrolling through Tumblr for another mildly amusing cat gif.

I know you have better things to do, and if you’re reading this blog then you probably have ambitions for your web experience that extends beyond browsing image sharing sites.

For you happy few, I want to give a bit of a pep talk. To motivate you to commit to your dream of founding the next big thing on the web. We all daydream about stumbling into web-based stardom in one form or another, so why not pursue those dreams in earnest?

C’mon, let’s give it some serious thought.

Consider Pinterest

How Pinterest became a popular websiteI think the recent explosion of the relatively new social media service Pinterest is a great example of how ordinary people achieve huge success on the web.

Less than a year ago, Pinterest was a medium level website with a small following and little to no media coverage.

Then seemingly, overnight, the site exploded in popularity, going from a struggling site to one with over 11 million viewers a month within a very short period of time. The developers behind Pinterest run a small operation—less than fifty employees in all—and yet they’ve managed to cultivate massive success.

The most amazing thing about Pinterest is that it doesn’t really offer any groundbreaking features to its users. It’s simply a new platform through which people can share info with other users. Designed to look like a pin-up board, people on Pinterest can pin up text, photos, and videos that they find interesting, funny, or worth talking about.

It’s essentially a refinement of an experience on the web that’s already ubiquitous. And that’s key.

Evolutionary, not Revolutionary

Pinterest’s path is nothing new, but it does teach a valuable lesson to web entrepreneurs looking to stake their claim to fame:

You don’t need to reinvent a person’s fundamental browsing experience in order to create a successful enterprise. All you need to do is identify a pressing demand in the blogosphere, and think of an innovative (and feasible) way to meet that demand.

For example, say that you happen to notice that a number of graphic designers complain about the difficulty with a certain design software.

While it probably isn’t within your skill set to create a more user friendly software, perhaps you could find the resources to build a site for graphic designers to vent about their frustrations and brainstorm solutions to common problems in their profession.

There was a need, and you created a space to address it.

Maintaining Quality

If you ever want to have any success on the web, you have to hold yourself up to the highest standards in everything you do.

From the idea stage, to actual design, to execution and implementation— you can only hope to succeed if you remain dedicated at every stage.

A half-brained idea won’t have a chance when you try to design for it, nor will you be able to execute it in an appealing manner.

A great idea isn’t worth anything if you aren’t willing to get down and dirty with the design and coding problems involved in making a site worthwhile.

Stay strong throughout or don’t bother at all; remember, there are millions of hungry entrepreneurs who trying for the same success as you.

Whatever you do, you better make it count.

6 comments add yours

  1. Hey, Mariana. Great write up here.

    I particularly liked the idea, “Evolutionary, not Revolutionary.” That’s one of the things I started to notice online about a year ago. People weren’t reinventing the wheel. They were just making it roll quicker and more efficiently (and in a different way). Once I wrapped my head around that, it freed up a lot of my creativity that was once boxed in by silly preconceived notions about what it takes to create the next big thing.

    Pinterest was definitely the example that put the nail in the coffin for me. There was nothing new about… it was just unique in its sharing capabilities… and that was refreshing to its potential users.

    Great read.

    • Pinterest looked an awful lot like Tumblr to me the first time I saw it, the whole site really just resembles a tumblog.

      The pinning feature was innovative enough to get people on-board apparently, because I just don’t see much difference.

      • Exactly… there isn’t. The little difference there was, the pinning feature, was the key. I think it combines people’s need to click something to show an action and move on (think Facebook “Like”), and their need to tell the world how they feel about little things (filling up their boards by simple clicks).

        It didn’t create anything new at all. Just took the most basic desires that people have from sharing sites and combined them all in one. To me, that was smart!

  2. I’ve got to say Pinterest was quite a shock, and there are other just looking at the sheer volume of add ons for FireFox and Chrome you start to realise that there is a whole sea of opportunity out there waiting to be taken advantage of of.

    What Spencer Haws did with Long Tail Pro and also The Optin Skin (not ID lol, it’s an in joke to anybody else except for Sean and Alex). Those are two great examples of people seeing clear holes in the market and developing a solution. Even developing an api for Google+ or a facebook app.

    I know the creators of Connect.me and have given them some analysis because I love taking part in this stuff. I’m also watching Hypothes.is very carefully as they are doing some great stuff, and would definitely love to be doing what they are doing but everything I get stopped by my skills gap.

    I’m definitely going to get more into coding once I have the chance!

  3. Really neat post you wrote, here. The problem with today’s society is that people wait for things to happen. In all of reality, you need to be the change, not wait for it. Good only happens to those who push forward. Hence why history doesn’t move forward when everybody is sitting still.

    I especially liked the point of being evolutionary instead of revolutionary. People don’t want a different mode of transportation – they love their car – they just want a better one!

  4. I like your attitude on how you should think and handle things!. I whole heartedly agree on going all out and holding yourself, your blog, your website to the highest standard. Doing your best!.
    Pinterest, I didn’t care for it. I agree with Sean in that the key to Pinterest’s success was the pinning idea. But it falls short with me. I go, and tried to get into it. But all in all I’m basically very bored. I try. lol I keep thinking I’m missing something..lol

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