Why Twitter, Instagram, Lyft, and Mint.com Should Have Failed

Posted by Joe Garza on 2015-05-01

Think you have a startup idea that won't go anywhere? Think again. Many of today’s most successful companies started off with a simple, goofy, or ridiculous idea that should have failed. After all, the perception of what is a brilliant conceit and what is a stinker can change over time, and often does.

Here’s what Mike Maples, Jr., one of Silicon Valley’s top investors has to say on the matter:

The more people who think you’re wrong, the better. By the time the rest of the world catches up, you’ve made huge progress.”

The 16th Founder Showcase on May 12th, 2015 features some of the top startups, entrepreneurs, and investors. Tickets are still available! 

Ever wonder which prominent companies probably should not have achieved the success they enjoy today? Check out the list below. Whether these companies succeeded through innovation or serendipity is up to you.


Twitter is an online social networking and microblogging service that allows users to send and read short 140-character text messages. And nothing else.

“I fell in love with Twitter the first time I saw it. But seriously, a 140 character limited, all text, micro-blogging platform?  We could do more than that with 300 baud modems.”

Source: Jason M. Lemkin on Quora


Instagram is an online photo-sharing, video-sharing, and social networking service that lets users share pictures and videos. Think Facebook without the features.

"Let’s use our Project Burbn to develop a photo sharing app with some silly little filters and then sell the 14Mb piece of code for a whopping $1 Billion."

Source: Varun Singh on Quora


Based in San Francisco, Lyft is a peer-to-peer rideshare service that enables passengers to hitch rides with candy-giving strangers who are eager to be your friend. Sounds safe enough.

"I have never used it, but the idea of riding with a stranger in a non-professionally maintained vehicle really skeeves me out."

Source: Rethcir on TripAdvisor


Mint.com is a free web-based personal financial management service that lets you track bank, credit card, investment, and loan transactions and balances through a single user interface. Finally, a finance site that encourages you to put all your eggs in one basket.

"Give us all of your bank, brokerage, and credit card information. We'll give it back to you with nice fonts. To make you feel richer, we'll make them green."

Source: Michael Wolfe on Quora


Get your tickets to the 16th Founder Showcase to check out some of the most promising startups!

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