On Monday, Inc. published a piece on TikTok‘s move to offer other features for their creators (TikTok Now Has 1 Billion Users. Here’s the Company’s Plan for World Domination). The article highlights how TikTok will roll out new tools, move into augmented reality, e-commerce partnerships (namely, a recent deal with Shopify), will soon offer longer-form videos.

We see successful tech companies pivot into new areas often. We also see tech companies pivot because something isn’t working. But what does everyone mean when they say pivot?

Merriam-Webster defines a pivot as “an adjustment of modification (as to a product, service, or strategy) in order to adapt or improve.” That got us thinking, what are some of the most significant pivots the tech industry has seen…

  • YouTube was initially meant to be a dating app
  • Nintendo entering the gaming market in the ’80s after having been a playing cards company
  • Samsung started off offering dehydrated fish and didn’t offer electronics until 1970
  • Odeo, err, Twitter started as a podcasting platform
  • Instagram‘s pivot from the Foursquare competitor, Burbn
  • The well-known rise of Amazon from only selling books online to taking over virtually everything
  • Flickr started as the massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) Game Neverending
  • Groupon pivoted away from being the social good donations platform The Point
  • Pinterest shifting from being known as Tote, a new way for users to shop their favorite retailers
  • Snowdevil, an online snowboard shop, took a homegrown e-commerce platform and became Shopify
  • Netflix‘s move from being a mail-based deliverer of DVDs into being a streaming service
  • Android (pre-Google) pivoting from camera OSs into being a platform for mobile devices
  • Yelp shifting from being a network to ask friends for recommendations into being a local review social platform
  • Slack‘s transition from being the socialization game Glitch to becoming a dominant player in professional chat/messaging
  • PayPal moving from being a beam payment technology for PDAs to becoming an online and smartphone money transfer leader
  • IBM‘s pivot from building personal computers to offering IT consulting services

If you’re interested in learning more about these famous tech pivots, here is the list of articles we used as sources…

*Friends GIF used can be found on GIPHY

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