Tell me how a web startup like Pinterest or Kickstarter happens.
February 21, 2012 12:24 PM Subscribe
Tell me how a web startup like Pinterest or Kickstarter happens
. I'm most emphatically not starting a web company of my own, but I'm in the industry and am curious just what exactly goes into making a recognizable and successful site like that.
posted by relucent to Computers & Internet (18 answers total) 31 users marked this as a favorite
I work at a web development firm that has gotten a number of RFPs in the past couple of years from people who want to build sites like Facebook, but for people who... or like Pinterest, except.... They usually do not have the budget required to do it the right way - but then that made me think, "What is the right way?" This question is as much for my own curiosity as it is for my job.
Now, I am not really asking about Facebook... I've seen The Social Network. Their case study would not look like most web startups would, and the level of success they achieved is something that is reached by only a small handful of startups in a decade. I'm talking about something with a specific demographic (non-universal appeal), but widely recognized inside that demographic, like Pinterest, AirBNB or Kickstarter: How did they do it?
I name these sites because they are social in nature, and because they are not technologically complex in the same way that other web startups like Square or Dwolla are. That's not to say that they were a breeze to code, but just that it's all in the execution: another company could easily clone Kickstarter, but they wouldn't get anywhere because they're not Kickstarter. On the other hand, another company could not clone Square without a significant investment.
I guess I am more specifically interested in the process behind it. Maybe I and a couple of friends are talking one night and we have a crazy idea that just might work. One of us is technical, one of us is a communication/sales type, one is a designer. We develop a rough business plan over the next few weeks. This site is going to be awesome! ...What now?
How much time do we spend planning before we start engaging others?
Do we start by talking to web companies in town to get an idea of how much cash we'd need to raise? Or do we go straight to investors and try to get venture capital?
Do we contract with a development firm, or do we immediately hire staff to work in-house?
If we had, say, $30,000 pooled together between us to spend upfront, should we start with a solid branding initiative, or should we focus on technical proof of concept first, or should we hire a consultant?
Is there any hope in being successful if you do not live in California or New York?
What would be the minimum "entry fee" if you wanted a shot at real success? Could it get off the ground with $300k, or is even $1M too little?
Is it more important to launch a working product as soon as possible—even if it's missing some core components—or is it worth postponing the launch until the initial scope is fully realized?