Wednesday, February 16, 2011

The Bitly Story

The Bitly of today was not the Bitly that got launched. Bitly was launched by visionary founders as a site where if you got bit by a dog, you would take the picture of the dog, the bite, and your face in pain, and you would post the pictures online to share with the world. That was the idea. But it was way ahead of its times. The word spotting had not been invented yet.

And so Bitly pivoted and became the URL shortener that you know today. And it has been quite a success, would you say?

Twitter used to be a podcasting service, similarly. I remember using that podcasting service. If I had been bit by a dog back then, I would have used Bitly too. But I didn't.

This was before the iPhone. The Bitly founders actually expected you to take pictures with your digital camera, go home, download it on your computer, then upload it. The sharing process was also cumbersome. Back then people did not know what "follow" meant. Many got insulted.

Bitly gave up. But by now I think there is room for a new startup to take a crack at that same space. The future is finally here. People are much more used to sharing. There is the smartphone. There is the word spot.

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