Marketers use a plethora of martech tools and services to power various marketing and operational functions, with everything from ordering meals to reserving the cheapest hotels available at our fingertips today, has anyone considered who came up with these ideas and had the risk taking ability to turn them into reality?
Some of these businesses resulted from carefully considered and executed concepts, while others were the result of pure chance. Let’s learn a thing or two from these individuals who successfully established their empires!
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The idea of giving bed and breakfast at an affordable price came to two folks struggling to pay their rent after relocating to another city. They recognized an opportunity and boom, they had a 30-year-old Indian male, as their first customer through the Airbnb platform. To keep the firm solvent for at least six months, the founders had to sell cereal boxes for the first few months of operations. After multiple denials, it finally got its first round of investment for USD 112 million, and the rest, as they say, is history…
Alibaba founder Jack Ma’s biography is a classic example of a rags-to-riches transformation. Jack was born into poverty in communist China, failed his university admission exam twice, and was turned down for hundreds of jobs, including Kentucky Fried Chicken. He had no prior understanding of the internet or coding, but he was immediately intrigued by the internet when he used it for the first time.
After four years of hard work and perseverance, he attempted to launch two online enterprises that failed horribly before ultimately launching alibaba.com. He collected all of his contacts and persuaded them to invest in his vision for the future. It began to draw in clients, and Ma is now the richest man in China…
Instagram, the world’s most famous picture sharing app, was established by Kevin Systrom, a Stanford University graduate. He was born into a middle-class household but turned out to be a technological prodigy. He was at school when he was first introduced to technology, and he used to spend his evenings learning to code on his own. He began working on an app that was a hybrid between Foursquare and Flickr, and it was eventually released.
Only a few people know that Mark Zuckerberg approached him about a job while he was still an undergraduate, but he turned down the offer because he wanted to finish his degree first. Kevin, together with his friend Mike, worked tirelessly for eight weeks to develop this application. And eventually, on the night of October 6, 2010, they pressed the button to initiate the launch!
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Pinterest’s success story is one of the most inspirational because its inventor, Ben Silbermann, clung to the idea and battled to make it work even after 90 percent of the people who tried it didn’t like it. Within four months of the service’s introduction, it had just 900 registered users. It was a flop, and funding was withheld for an extended period. Ben was raised by physicians and was on the same road as when he was younger. He was accepted into Yale, and it was at that point that he realized he didn’t want to be a doctor. After graduating, he went to work for Google in sales and support.
As a non-engineer in Google, he didn’t exactly fit in with the company’s ethos and felt a little out of place. That’s when he began working on his start-up, now known as Pinterest. Given the lackluster response, he had been labeled a failure for an extended period before Pinterest ultimately gained traction on the recommendation of a well-known blogger.
Founder Travis Kalanick came up with the idea for Uber after finding it difficult to hail a cab in Paris on his way to a business meeting. He aimed to use it to reduce the cost and difficulties of black-car and local taxi services at the push of a button. When Kalanick had two previous unsuccessful start-up efforts, it was tough for investors to believe in him. However, as soon as Uber cab began in San Francisco, it became an instant success!
Following SF, they moved on to extend Uber to additional US cities and worldwide, with the first foreign market being Paris. Uber is presently valued at USD 69 billion, making it the world’s most valuable privately held technology business by market capitalization.
The rapid pace at which the MarTech and tech sector has evolved holds a lot of promise for the future as well. It will be interesting to see the innovations which will keep cropping up in the future to revolutionize the sector.
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