So everything about the title is completely fabricated, but were I Facebook, that's what I would be doing right now, except I'd pay even more and NOW.
Pinterest is my favorite love to hate company. It's not their fault. I'm just too old, so when I look at it I see a 1990's idea wrapped with technology. A core piece of the technology is oh a bookmarklet? Saw that before. And, I'm jealous. I want my wife back, but that is also part of what made me bullish. My wife is not an early adopter. She's the perfect consumer internet user - one with an average skill set but who spends money online. When I mentioned she try Pinterest, I never thought she'd take to it. But, the amazing thing is she did, and her experience has only made me love them more...and wish that I were an investor.
I've been meaning to write about Pinterest for a while. They popped on my radar in October while I was putting together Assembled Fashion. The New York fashion tech community was an early adopter and fan. It was then that I also learned of the companies role as affiliate marketer. And, I loved it. Pure genius and the poster child for a new breed of affiliate companies - lean tech startups who create audiences without being rebate / incentivized portals or SEO plays. That the company received any flack for monetizing its traffic is both ridiculous and misguided - they aren't doing what the largest toolbar is doing and hijacking organic traffic. They are the enablers of commercial intent and deserve to help keep the lights on.
What made me finally take the proverbial pen to paper about Pinterest was two things - a great article written by Bianca Bosker of HuffPo, where she nailed one of the company's core innovations, "Look at this versus look at me." The second was seeing a merchant with a follow-me on Pinterest button on their site. That's when the enormous ah-ha moment hit. It is the Pinterest button on sites that is the monetization trojan horse not the affiliate link business. Combined with Bianca's insight, I now have a new way of not just looking at Pinterest but the ushering in of the newest iteration of the web.
Assuming Pinterest doesn't get too distracted by idiots like me tooting their horn and the insane circling of the investment vultures that has no doubt been happening, the company is not a $400mm one but a multi-billion dollar one. They are what Facebook Pages is not - the platform for "social commerce." Their growing audience is certainly a key asset, but how their platform can and will be leveraged by brands big and small as well as merchants big and small, local and national, is what takes them from wow to holy cow. Pinterest is on the path to becoming not just the communication platform but the transaction platform - a magic combination of discovery and distribution. And they are doing all this across many, mega potential commercial categories without seeming too broad.
While I'm sure the release of their API will also do wonders, it is their timing and innate understanding how social platforms work that is among their best competitive advantages. It isn't just their slick sign-up process. It's knowing how to get both advanced internet users and novices hooked, and making novices more advanced users. It is their devilish use of other social platforms to build their own commerce platform which is pure genius. They smartly relied on Facebook to remove signup friction and increase virality, but unlike a typical app, they are not dependent on Facebook. All the more reason why Facebook needs them. Back to the timing. In a world cluttered with socially enabled businesses clamoring for real estate on sites, they stumbled upon (no pun intended) a gaping whole in this race - the aspiration graph.
As for my valuation, just as it didn't matter when Facebook was to be sold for $1 billion, all that is needed is some justification. In this case, we know what Tumblr was recently valued at, and we know what Facebook is valued it. By using a combination of potential value per user and traffic, I came up with $400mm. I also came up the dream job worthy of quitting virtually any other - getting hired as their chief revenue officer.
Can I have my wife back now, please?