Instagram started as the “location-based iPhone app […] Burbn [that] let users check in at particular locations, make plans for future check -ins, earn points for hanging out with friends, and post pictures of the meet-ups ”(Megan Garber) – but soonfocusedon photo sharing .
WhatsAppstartedas a way to broadcast tiny pieces of text to your friends as status updates. “Jan [Koum] was showing me his address book. His thinking was it would be really cool to have statuses next to individual names of the people. ”(Alex Fishman) “The statuses would show if you were on a call, your battery was low, or you were at the gym.” (Parmy Olson)
YouTubestartedas an online dating site. “We always thought there was something with video there, but what would be the actual practical application? We thought dating would be the obvious choice. ”(Steve Chen) “The idea was for single people to make videos introducing themselves and saying what they were looking for.” (Richard Nieva)
Grouponstartedas “an online activism platform called The Point”. Having “worked on it a year”, they instead tried “a coupon for pizza at a pizzeria located in their building lobby”, “loaded up coupons and hand-emailed them to people” (Adam L. Penenberg), whichbecameGroupon.
Twitterstartedas a way to use text messages (SMS) to communicate not just with individuals but with a small group of people. It was used mostly for short status updates. The service wasspun offfrom Odeo, a podcasting company. “There was this path of discovery with something like that, where over time you figure out what it is. Twitter actually changed from what we thought it was in the beginning, which we described as status updates and a social utility. ”(Evan Williams)