The Experience
Teach at Jolt

How to gain more users than Facebook and Twitter combined

Faye Graham
April 15, 2020

Pinterest is the world’s most used visual bookmarking site. It’s the brainchild of founder Ben Silbermann and came about when he teamed up with college buddies Evan Sharp and Paul Sciarra.

Since 2010 it’s been allowing everyone from foodies to fashionistas to save and share image collections of their favourite niche through their phones, computers and devices.

But the well-known site you see today, didn’t get to where it is without a few bumps in the road.

After less than 9 months of launching, Pinterest had 10,000 users - this paled in comparison to its social media counterparts.
But Silbermann was no stranger to hard work.

Before Pinterest he worked in product design for none other than Google. It was this experience that inspired him to think big from then on in.

As the world continued into the 3rd industrial revolution - the digital revolution – the rise of Pinterest was a testament to the innovation of its creators. Silbermann effectively curbed the trend for content and messages in a saturated market, by instead thinking visually.

Pinterest used their USP - tapping into its smaller community user base and utilising word of mouth to get them noticed.

Instead of trying to compete with social media sites with a much bigger following, Pinterest got clever with its marketing.

By inviting people to use the app as part of their own personal marketing campaigns, this in turn encouraged more interest and time spent on Pinterest’s site. This led to a much more engaged audience, and the mass sharing even went on to get big brands involved in the conversation.

Plenty of image based social sites have come and gone since Pinterest’s inception, yet Pinterest remains due its strong and engaged user base.

Boasting over 200 million users, the app is available in over 27 languages and today has an estimated worth of $12.7 billion. Not bad for a start-up.

Jolt. Teaching start up business.

So why do so few of us have creative breaks?

Because almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes. Including you.

Charles Darwin took long walks around London. Kurt Vonnegut made listening to jazz a daily priority. Fiona Apple disappeared for 6 years after the release of her third album.

So why do so few of us have creative breaks?

I ask because I can often be found agonising over the "more". If only I posted on Instagram more, I'll think in the bath. I'd have more followers if I pitched to more publications. I need to post 2 more times a week, minimum. I could go on...

Between you and me, I've got frustrated with myself for browsing Facebook or watching too much TV more times than I can remember.

And I'm not alone. So many of us are terrified of taking a break, creatively speaking. We won't let a moment pass without listening to a podcast, consuming an article or sharing something.

The cognitive load is real, y'all.

But like Vitamin D, sleep and good food, it's not only ok to take a break, it's essential.

Living a successful life is also about knowing when not to work. For your best output, you need to focus on your input, too.

The world won't end if you disappear from the internet for a week or so. Your creativity won't suddenly stop. Your time is now, but your time was also then and it will be again.

Your dreams don't have an expiration date.

Many of us confuse being "busy" with being constructive. But you can only do your best work by taking breaks.

And science backs it up, too. The brain requires substantial downtime to do its most innovative thinking. The ideas you have while driving or in the shower aren't coincidental. They're a result of you taking a step back, whether you're aware of it or not.

Here's a challenge for you

Let yourself take a wonderful and indulgent break. Several breaks. Hell, get downright bored.

Put airplane mode on for a while. Sit down. Lie down. Be still. Do nothing. Observe. Listen to your mind. Let it do what it does without judging it.

Wallow in it. Don't be afraid of it. Push it as far as you can.

When you leave your laptop behind, something always happens. A new idea or a fresh perspective appears.


"A spark of inspiration needs an empty cave."

Take proper breaks, often. Completely clear your mind. Your next best idea depends on it.

Taken by over 18,500 people; Calibrated by 100s of tech employees

By taking this 10-min test I can set myself up for success

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