YouTube was originally a dating site? Pivoting Story

by 300cbt Team

Pivot refers to discovering different insights and market opportunities while executing the originally planned business model (BM) and switching the business to a new BM. In many cases, the services we use in our daily lives were not originally services at all. In this post, we will learn about services that succeeded after pivoting.


In 2018, YouTube was so popular in Korea that it was called the year of YouTube. YouTube is a video site used by 2 billion people every month. It was founded on February 14, 2005 by Steve Chen and Chad Hurley, one of the PayPal mafia, and was acquired by Google the following year in 2006 for $1.6 billion. YouTube was not originally a video sharing site. It was originally planned as a dating site. However, we pivoted after seeing the larger market of video sharing rather than the dating category, and were able to develop into what we know today as YouTube. An interesting fact is that Korea's Pandora TV launched the video sharing business a year before YouTube. Like Cyworld, which launched before Facebook.

pivot story

▲ YouTube founder Steve Chen, who was not suitable for dating

pivot story ▲ Main page when YouTube was first launched


Instagram, owned by Facebook, is currently the hottest social channel. However, Instagram's initial business model was a site that showed prototypes while learning a computer program called Burbn. Burbn provided a check-in function, an option to add photos, a point earning function, etc., but Sistom, the founder of Instagram, organized the cluttered menu and pivoted BM to a visual platform, and the current Instagram was born.

pivot story

▲ Burbn site, the early model of Instagram


Twitter was launched in 2005 under the name Odeo. It was originally a podcast search and subscription site. However, after realizing that it could not compete with Apple's iTunes, the current Twitter was born with the idea of ​​Jack Dorsey, the current Twitter co-founder. At that time, they said they planned a microblogging platform where they could share each other's status in real time. Currently, Twitter has 355 million users.

pivot story

▲ ODEO site, which was the initial model for Twitter


Shopify, an e-commerce platform and online store builder launched in 2004, was not originally a shopping mall builder. Shopify founder Toby Luecke tried to create a snowboard sales site when he moved to Canada, but it was too difficult to create a shopping mall using existing shopping mall builders, so he decided to create a tool that would allow him to build the shopping mall himself. This became Shopify, now Shopify. It was listed on the NYSE in 2015 and has become an e-commerce platform used by more than 600,000 businesses around the world. Recently, the Shopify merchant army has been mentioned as a rival to Amazon.

pivot story
▲ Shopify’s first site, Snow Devil, is introduced in the Shopify Media Deck.

pivot story
The site is still accessible.


Just like Netflix and Chill, the American version of Ramen, Netflix is ​​also a service that has now become a part of our daily lives. However, it is not widely known that Netflix is ​​a company that has been around for over 20 years. Additionally, Netflix's business model was video rental. Netflix is ​​known to have made bold investments by sensing the future of the online streaming market. It is said that the video rental business is still ongoing.
▲ Video rental business, which was Netflix’s early business model


PayPal's business model was to develop software for a mobile work device called the Palm, but as Palm's popularity waned, it pivoted to a money transfer business through email. Remittance via email may seem obvious now, but it was a very innovative idea at the time. The marketing campaign of paying $10 to each person who signed up for PayPal and each person who received a remittance was also a huge success, allowing the company to become the largest fintech company in the world. Even today, this reward-based marketing method is widely used in the startup industry.
▲ The Palm program, which was PayPal’s early business model


Slack, a business messenger known as an email killer, was a service created by founder Stuart Butterfield to communicate with offices in Canada and the United States while creating a game called Glitch. Stewart had a vision for the business messenger market rather than games, so he officially launched Slack in 2014. Currently, Slack is the world's largest business messenger, used by 8 million people every day, and has become a unicorn with a value of more than $7 billion.

▲ Slack’s time as a game developer (Dini Specs)

You can also think about pivots in the CBT and e-commerce world. You may have started selling online but have now become a vendor supplying products to online sellers, you may be giving lectures on overseas sales, or you may be attracted to logistics and run your own CBT logistics company. Actually, these are real cases around me. Do you have any pivot-related ideas?

paypal korea

Leave a comment

* 스팸방지를 위해 댓글은 검수 후 노출 됩니다.