Saturday, May 25, 2013

Is there a $2 billion social acquisition coming?

Why does Ben Silbermann look like hell?

I don't actually think he looks that bad, but a while back, Fast Company ran an article that basically said, "For a guy running such a beautiful website, Ben Silbermann looks like hell..." then went into torrid detail about bags under his eyes, an unkept skirt, watery eyes and uncombed hair. 

Maybe it's because he is the founder of the uber popular pinning site, Pinterest or maybe it's because he is a working dad. Either way, he is certainly facing extraordinary stress in rather uncertain times. And for good reason; the world is watching and not only that, but they are the audience; and a very active audience at that.

Just how many people use these social sites (source)

Facebook: 1.1 billion
Twitter: 500 million
YouTube: 1 billion
Instagram: 100 million
Tumblr: 216.3m monthly users
Pinterest: 49 million
Hulu: 4 million

Knowing that Google bought YouTube in 2006 for $1.65b, Facebook bought Instagram for $1b in 2012, Twitter goobled up Vine for a cool $30m in the same year, and Yahoo! recently signed the deal to take over Tumblr for $1.1b, makes for good reasons Ben can't get much rest. Now Hulu is up for grabs and contenders are submitting formal bids that appear to range from $500m all the way up to $2b. All this talk of usage, popularity, valuation and traffic makes my head spin and I don't have any skin in the game. So the question is, does Ben think perhaps that Pinterest will be the first $2+ billion social acquisition? 

It's a question that probably keeps Ben up most nights. No wonder the poor bastard looks like hell. 

I have to imagine that it's stressful to think that maybe your little dream will turn into billions of dollars and leave a mark on how people live their lives everyday, across the globe. The latter is already happening, by the way, and that's another reason Ben can't sleep. He can't disappoint his fans. He built the ultimate destination to surprise and delight and that's a tough act to follow...or even maintain. As technology evolves and new wondrous sites and apps get born each day, Pinterest has to stay at the top of their game or risk faltering in front of all. 

Here is a quick list of Pinterest look-alikes and their usage stats:

Wanelo: 8 million
Fancy: 2 million 
Fab: 12 million
Opensky: 1 million
StylePin: --
Flickr: 87 million

Here is a whole list of 33 less Pinterestingly-popular clone sites


 


I'll leave you with this Pinteresting infographic:


It's enough to keep even the most exhausted new dad up at night.