The success story of Ben Silbermann (Pinterest)

By M.Farouk Radwan, MSc.

The success story of Ben Silbermann

Pinterest has grown from an unknown site with sluggish growth and very few users to one of the most popular social networks today.

The success story of Ben Silbermann is so inspiring because he was persistent enough to hold on to a project that no one at all believed in.

Ben always had the habit of collecting stuff like stamps and so he thought about creating a website that allows people to do the same thing. He started Pinterest after quitting his job at Google but after few month of trying Ben only got around 200-300 users.

In one interview Ben said that many people didn't get the site when they first saw it and it didn't have many fans back then. Ben said that he sent messages to all of his friends (around 300) but only a few of them seemed to have grasped the idea of Pinterest (less than 10 people i think)

Ben wasn't just struggling with a site that is hard to understand but he also had serious problems attracting new users. For the first year Pinterest only got 9000 users (10,000 in some stories).

One day when a blogger started recommending Pinterest the site took off very fast. obviously it was a famous blogger. The rest of the story is well known. Pinterest became a giant social network worth billions.

Going against the whole world

Imagine you were in Ben's shoes, would you have held on to your project after 90% (or more) of the people you knew didn't like the idea?

Ben met too many investors and all of them rejected his idea. Personally if Ben came to me during the early days of Pinterest i think i wouldn't have found the idea appealing. After all what's the point of starting a site to collect your stuff??

I know what's in your mind now. You think that Pinterest is a great site. Yes it became a great site after it got filled with millions of images but what on earth motivated the first 100,000 people to join an empty site?

Today i use Pinterest because it's awesome but few years back i wouldn't have used it even if you paid me simply because it had no content compared to google search.

In other words Ben was trying to market an idea that wasn't receiving a warm welcome from anyone.

This seems like madness right?
Going against everyone you know. Going Against the opinion of investors and experts.

In addition to all that an attempt was made to sell Pinterest after it hit 10,000 users but the buying company refused to attend the meeting.

In short Ben was going against the whole world but he kept moving.

Why did Ben make it?

Obviously Ben was persistent to an irrational degree and this is the exact thing you must do in order to succeed in life.

When i watched Ben in an interview i automatically recalled what Steve jobs said about success. Both said the same exact thing which is that in order to succeed your persistence must take over your rationality.

Had Ben thought about it rationally he would have never continued. A social network that Got 300 users in few month, how many years it would take to reach one million users? Ages!

Jobs said that sometimes it becomes insane to keep going that any sane person would quit but here is a golden tip: In order to succeed in life you must be persistent in an insane way.

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