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Ask HN: Examples of "build first, monetize later" successes?
4 points by dreamdu5t 1574 days ago | hide | past | web | 6 comments | favorite
I'd like some examples of the "Build First, Monetize Later" mantra of Silicon Valley?

I'm looking for examples of startups that had no way of monetizing their original product, but then successfully did so after achieving huge growth.

There are no such companies.

The problem is that you said "monetize later" rather than "become profitable later".

For example, someone else suggested that Google was an example of a company that had no way of monetizing their original product. That's false. In the earliest days of Google it was obvious that there were tons and tons of ways to monetize the product -- hence the very early-stage investment -- though there was uncertainty of which ways of monetizing were best for growth and profit.

Seconded, if you're starting a company with no understanding of how you can make money than you are not starting a business.

YouTube (though the monetization came after acquisition by Google) and Twitter come to mind

How about Google?

I know this is obvious, but Facebook is the first thing that came to mind.

Reading around the history of Facebook, there were advertising sales quite early, a lot earlier than people realise. They used to do local campus deals, student credit card deals etc.

Echoing dasht's point above, no startup should plan to "monetize later". Plan for 'profitability later' but without some kind of test (like a sale) it's going to be harder to test and iterate on ideas (lean startup etc.)

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