Two things dominated my newsfeed these last couple of weeks: Jeremy Lin and Pinterest. I don’t think much more can be added to the Linsanity so I’ll focus on why I think Pinterest is succesful.
1) Serving non-consumers
The web is plagued with social bookmarking or discovery sites like Delicious, Reddit or StumbleUpon. Most of them target the same base of internet power users. Instead of competing with them Pinterest simply targets a different set of users. This would be a classical example of disruptive innovation. According to ComScore, it’s being particularly successful among Midwest females. Not your typical startup target.
2) Self Expression
Pinterest has been compared to a scrapbook, a collage or a patchwork. There is no doubt that the interface is beautiful. Users are leveraging that beauty for self expression. Some users tell the story of their life, others their passions, their dreams. The result is an appealing visual representation that represents that user. This is a key differentiator of Pinterest.
What Pinterest does it does very well. More importantly, they don’t try to do anything else.
What’s next? Revenue and engagement. There’s no shortage of theories regarding their revenue. From affiliate marketing to sponsored pins, the opportunities are clear. Regarding engagement, time will tell us if Pinterest is not only a self expression mechanism but also a strong discovery site that deserves continuous visits.