Companies rarely change successfully. I’ve blogged before about some of the cultural reasons this is true for larger companies – but much of the same holds true for smaller ones as well. But, every now and then, you do get a change which does seem to work for the better.
Take the rapidly growing flash sales site Fab.com. They started as a social networking service focused on the gay population. But, when that did not work as well as they had hoped, they then attempted to reposition themselves as a review/check-in service also focused on the gay population.
Actually, it would be far more illustrative to use their words (see slide from Fab.com presentation below): they started as “Gay Facebook”, then tried to become a “Gay Yelp”, then shifted businesses to become a “Gay Foursquare” (after the popular social and location-based check-in service), and then tried to pivot again towards being a “Gay Groupon”.
But before they could try (and potentially falter again at) becoming the gay versions of the other major internet companies out there (Quora, Zynga, LinkedIn, Google, Pandora maybe?), they stumbled on something which really fit with their passions and interests – and that is the birth of the Fab.com that we see today.
So, successful changes can happen. Ideally, they wouldn’t need to take as many steps as Fab.com did, and we’re still a long way from ultimately calling Fab.com a success, but under the right reasons and with the right strategic thinking and operational chops, they can happen.