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Five Successful Startups That Started Out As Blogs

Five Successful Startups That Started Out As Blogs

Is it well worth building out a functioning prototype to validate your startup idea? Here are 5 successful startups that started out lifestyles as blogs, and why the weblog-first approach is probably right for you.

You have a first-rate startup idea. Enthusiastically, you exercising your technical chops and start coding. After weeks of long, caffeine-fueled nights, you launch your product to the world with anticipation. But no person cares.

We’ve heard this story earlier than. Far too often, marketers construct some thing that does not solve a real problem. Thankfully, Lean Startup affords a manual to help marketers discover marketplace needs and construct a business enterprise via tested mastering. Its practitioners instrument experiments to test hypotheses and become aware of what customers sincerely want. Here are some not unusual strategies:

Talk to capacity users

Survey clients

Conduct usability checks using a competitor’s product

Build a landing page to acquire electronic mail addresses


Run commercials to measure click-through/conversion fees

Create a faux prototype using manual processes

One much less recognized technique is the blog-first approach. That’s right, a simple weblog put up is a feasible tactic to quick validate thoughts and accumulate market feedback. Here are some examples of startups which have efficiently used this strategy:


Danielle Morrill poured her coronary heart out whilst she introduced the death of her startup, Referly. Shortly later on, she published The Y Combinator Startup Index, using publicly to be had information to measure and rank the achievement of YC startups. The publish exploded into loads of tweets, hitting the the front page of Hacker News.

She followed with additional posts studying 500 Startups, TechStars, Andreessen Horowitz, and other portfolios, all of which acquired comparable interest. The subject matter surely struck a twine in the startup and investment network and she persisted writing each day. Danielle posted 89 essays over 10 weeks, building an target audience earlier than saying her new venture.

On May second she announced: “In case it wasn’t obvious, this is our startup and those posts are our MVP.” Shortly afterward,Mattermark turned into launched.

Dubbed the “Bloomberg for startup buyers,” the product changed into a selection of the Startup Index her audience feverishly fed on. Danielle cleverly constructed a following and proved that humans valued the content material thru her weblog before launching her new venture.


In January, Zack Shapiro published an insightful essay on his weblog,Why Muting is the following large generation of the Internet. In the put up, he described a method to our unfiltered, noisy social feeds, which he called the “Muting API.” Tired of Apple’s brand new WWDC announcement? Want to keep away from Game of Thrones spoilers? Disinterested in studying about who made out with whom on The Bachelorette? The service Zack described would allow humans to take control of the content material they eat, empowering its customers to clear out keywords, topics, hashtags, activities, and different updates from Twitter, Facebook, and different feeds.

The put up obtained huge interest as readers enthusiastically recommended ways they could use the service, as exemplified through this eager Hacker News commenter:

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I’ve been trying this for a exclusive cause than statistics overload: to hide spoilers. Whether for TV shows, movies, or sports, it’s clean to come across a end result you’d as a substitute discover in a while, and one shouldn’t must transfer off all channels simply to avoid coming across it.

Inspired and affirmed by way of the feedback on his concept, Zack sought to turn his weblog publish into a reality. While working complete-time at TaskRabbit, he started out building the product all through nights and weekends. On May 9th, three months later, Zack released Silencer, a free Chrome extension that empowers users to mute Twitter and Facebook posts that incorporate precise key phrases or hashtags. Today his carrier filters 6k-10k pieces of content day by day and has been featured on Lifehacker, CNET, and The Next Web.


Did you know that Groupon initially launched as a blog? The first model of the daily deal web site changed into “totally ghetto,” in keeping with an interview with founder Andrew Mason. To launch the concept, the team re-skinned a WordPress weblog with the Groupon logo. Each day, they manually posted gives for heavily discounted restaurant present certificates, concert vouchers, film tickets, and other deals in the Chicago region. Using off-the-shelf software program, they generated PDF coupons, emailing vouchers to clients the use of a script and Apple Mail.

Although not the most stylish or scalable solution, the blog enabled Groupon to speedy show that human beings might pay for coupons, and helped it degree market demand with little in advance funding. “It turned into enough to show the concept and display that it turned into some thing that human beings actually liked,” Mason remembers. Once the idea turned into established, Groupon increased its operations and infrastructure far beyond its humble weblog beginnings.


In June of 2012, Twitter added coverage modifications proscribing permissions and get entry to for third-party developers. This affected numerous organizations that trusted the carrier, many of which finally shut down. Shortly after the declaration, Dalton Caldwell expressed his distaste for Twitter’s choice to limit its API and cognizance on ad monetization. His arguments resonated. The put up speedy circulated the web, racking up extra than 80,000 page views in just two weeks. People were hungry for a Twitter alternative with an open API and an surroundings that did not depend upon marketing to sustain operations.

It turns out his concept wasn’t new when he posted the rant. Dalton and his crew have been working on a relaunch of App.Internet, their “mystery task”, for the past 8 months. However, Dalton turned into capable of validate market demand and publicize the brand new product via his weblog without needing to truely release it. His writing even inspired supporters who shared his vision to provide remarks for the unreleased product, which his group listened to:

It may be very uncommon to be sitting on an idea that manages to capture human beings’s imagination. My information of just how uncommon having an inherently effective idea is brought about me to pay a terrific deal of attention to the quantity of dialogue this blog post generated.

App.Internet went on to raise more than $803,000 from 18,000 clients that shared his vision, best six weeks after Dalton’s prolific weblog put up.


Ghost, a new running a blog platform, released a Kickstarter marketing campaign in April 2013 that generated massive attention in the open-source community. But it was definitely a weblog publish that kicked off the motion 5 months in advance. John O’Nolan initially created a idea page describing his vision of the precise running a blog answer. On the concept page, he explains how WordPress, the de-facto self-hosted publishing answer, had outgrown its blogging roots, introducing useless complexity and overhead. Ghost is a re-imagining of what a blogging platform ought to be, designed specially for the blogger effortlessly-of-use at its core.

Within some days of publishing the idea page, O’Nolan advised me via email that he received greater than 91,000 page perspectives, mentions in Mashable, and an interview with PandoDaily. In addition to the exposure, hundreds of enthusiasts and critics offered precious feedback. Where others battle to locate their clients and accumulate remarks, O’Nolan obtained a flood of enter and valuable records from the proactive, engaged network.

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Ghost’s supporters are actually eagerly anticipating its public appearance, with the teaser website receiving 2 hundred,000 page perspectives each month. While nonetheless in development, John built a following of 5,236 paying clients and 19,000 e-mail subscribers developing at a charge of two,500 emails every week. It all began with a weblog publish.

Why Blog-First Might Be Right For Your Startup

The splendor of the Blog-First Startup is that it lets in the entrepreneur to:

Validate thoughts with minimal attempt

Identify their patron

Build a following

Gather early user comments

There is no exceptional method for accumulating remarks and validating startup ideas, however add blogging for your lean startup toolbox and before writing code, don't forget writing a weblog publish.

Author Biography.

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