I don't know what all the fuss is/was about, but in terms of affiliate marketing money, that's not a large amount of revenue for one solo affiliate, let alone a whole company...
There are too many snakeoil salespeople that talk authoritatively on subjects, but don't actually have success to back them up. Referly definitely seems like someone in this category.
It was all over TC and other publications. One would assume that would correlate to more success, but I guess that would be a false assumption.
If you get a lot of press coverage, it probably means you are a good hustler and marketer, which is pretty vital to your success. If the market is bad, switch markets. Kudos to Danielle & Kevin.
They pivoted because their business model did not make the money they wanted to make. No one could have predicted it. They took the dive, and saw what there really was. Nothing wrong with that.
But sticking with something past the point where it's clearly failed is where the opportunity cost argument comes in. If they'd stuck with refer.ly for an extra year after it was clearly doomed just because they had nothing better to do, that would be wasting opportunity. Pivoting into something more interesting, either with a new business or the same corporation, is the best thing to do.
A team which could easily do a bunch of other cool stuff clearly has higher inherent opportunity cost than a team fresh out of college without a lot of ideas. This is kind of why medical startups often suck, because you do need to involve MDs, and MDs have a $250k+/yr job practicing medicine (with high social status as well) as their best alternative -- so anything short of a potential big win isn't worth it for them.
- Sometimes is very hard to measure how far off you are. Being in the game skews your whole perspective. Experienced or not (sadly).
- The could is what my argument is against. Everyone has opportunities. Measuring them by what could happen is a bit naive. You analyze the situation and chose that which conforms to your current needs. There might be other opportunities, but they were not as reasonable for those who had to make them option. It is rather simple for an outsider to argue the point. It is the team member the one who has to live with the decision. I don't think they lost at all. They were part of a YC startup, made connections, and ultimately can profit from the whole experience.
Maybe that's what the product does, tries to gather data on start-ups that produce little in the form of buzz but a lot in the form of revenue. It doesn't appear so. Danielle helped me a couple times when I was using the Twilio API, she's a nice person. Hopefully this works out for her.
The mailing list will be worth something too.
Perhaps the amount of money they have (and you can charge them) offsets this a bit.
Best of luck!
I just won a $100 bet by calling this. Thank you.
Anyhow, their marketing strategy has been very fun to watch and unfold. It has literally been done live on this site and most people did not get up in arms offended. Which is the smart way to do content marketing. They have also launched a business with what is simple an excel spreadsheet of data. I know they have code for it, but they could have launched with off-the-shelf software. Imagine that!
Mine - refer.ly would die and a new company would arise. The new company would be about business meta data. Then as she published the blog articles, I modified to state they would be selling data to VCs. I knew the so called pivot to compete with medium was a bluff, because there was no financial incentive to do so. Plus this team had always been very data driven.
The other bet - They would pivot into a medium with social features (AKA a social blogging platform(whatever that means)).
Um you are wrong about that. I worked with someone who was helping them, with, let's call it branding, on that idea. So unless that was part of the elaborate ruse, they were thinking of doing the pivot.