All these projects began as experiments – these ideas seemed to be just unreal and useless, but authors still tried to bring realize them. Here are 5 successful projects.
Now almost everybody has it. Twitter used to be a small side project by Odeo. It was originally used as an SMS service for a small group of employees. The project did not seem interesting to the press and investors. Here is what TechCrunch wrote about it ten years ago:
“What does this company do to make their offer attractive? Projects like Twitter are utterly boring. Only the design is really good.” They could not even imagine that the founders of Odeo built a new business that changed the way of communication on the Internet.
When a Canadian startup Crew hired a professional photographer to take pictures, the photos turned out more than necessary. But instead of letting the photos get lost somewhere on the hard disk, employees posted them on the site and share them for free. One post on HackerNews became popular throughout the Internet – and the photos were downloaded more than 50,000 times. Today, Unsplash has thousands of great photos which are available for free download. Unsplash has become the place to go for free pictures.
“Everything was started with a domain, a cheap server from Slicehost and some stock art.” Before GitHub became a company worth $1 billion, its founders Chris Vanstras and PJ Hiett were creating websites for the computer technology portal CNET. They didn’t like the fact that it was so difficult to make changes to open source. Therefore, they created their own repository, working at night and on weekends. Today, their side project has hundreds of millions in venture capital and approximately 20 million users.
Have you ever heard of Burbn, an app for whiskey lovers that allowed you to check-in at various places and post photos from your meetings? We also did not hear. But it is likely that you used one of the functions that appeared due to this application. People almost did not check-in. They just laid out their photos and that was not just whiskey. With the help of these people, the founders decided to launch the side-project of the photo-only application. On the very first day, 25,000 people registered in the app, and now about 800 million people around the world use Instagram every month. Oh, and Instagram was acquired by Facebook for $1 billion.
Finally, we can not fail to mention Slack in the list of successful side projects. Today, the company is worth $1 billion. Slack is a corporate instant messenger. Although it all started far from business. Founder Stuart Butterfield for ten years has been obsessed with creating a game. But he had to be distracted when his latest side project gained popularity. When it became clear that he couldn’t create a game, he decided to switch to a small tool for communication. In the future, it has become the fastest growing startup: in just a year and three months its value has grown to $1 billion.
Third-party projects are an incredible source of inspiration and a way to experiment. Business ideas at the base of side projects are better and more interesting than just earning money online on surveys or any job. If you have some ideas why not try?