I’m always fascinated by the journeys taken by some entrepreneurs. They are typically stories of blood, sweat, tears and a hell of a lot of money. So when I heard Rebekah Campbell’s story of Posse.com, I knew I had to write about it. This inspired this week’s Enterprise post.
When Rebekah Campbell first thought of the idea for her start-up Posse.com, she was saving up a deposit for a house. She was so convinced about her new idea that she sunk her $28,000 deposit into buying the domain name.
“My mother was upset with me about that,” says Campbell. “She had found me a house to buy and I told her: ‘I can’t buy it. I just bought a domain name.'”
The domain name, normally a very cheap purchase, was already owned by somebody else which made it much more expensive.
Her mother simply asked: “Can you live in a domain name?”
That was three years ago. While Campbell, now 35, still hasn’t bought her house, her start-up journey with Posse.com has seen highs, lows and – more recently – a fundamental pivot in its offering.
In start-up jargon, “pivoting” is when you start down one path, figure out that it’s not getting the traction you need (that is, not enough users or customers), then use some of the technology you’ve already developed to move into a new direction.
For example, today’s version of Twitter started off as a podcasting company. Suzuki was known for making weaving looms before moving into the manufacture of cars and motor cycles.
The term “pivot” has been popularised by Eric Ries in his book The Lean start-up. Often web-based or tech-related start-ups are based on new ideas, so there is no benchmark or historical data on which to predict success. The only way to find out if your start-up is going to work is to launch – and learn. And that’s what happened to Campbell.
You can read the rest of the post here.