Slam Dunk Startups
I often hear people say things like “if only I thought of YouTube a year before YouTube did, I’d be rich”, implying that given first-mover advantage, that person could create a company as great as YouTube. A statement like this completely disregards just how difficult YouTube was to build, from having the balls to allow brazen copyright violation, to building a great user experience, to scaling out the ability to serve millions of video streams a day. In other words, 99 out of 100 people who may have had the same idea at the same time would have failed to create anything remotely as successful as YouTube.
Other startups fall into the same class. Companies like Google and Amazon owe most of their success to great engineering, great execution, and great scaling.
But which are the startups of the last ten years which really do owe most of their success to someone simply having a smart idea first and acting on it quickly? Perhaps an easier way to ask this question is “if you could have one business idea from the last ten years as your own, which idea could you most assuredly turn into a success?”
In trying to think of good examples, the best one that came to mind for me was HotOrNot.com. Super simple idea. Developed by two people. Very low expenses. Millions of dollars in revenue per year.
Any better examples out there? What are the most slam dunk ideas of the last ten years?