If your startup is successful, no one will remember how ugly your product looked the day you launched. (And if it’s not successful, no one will care.)
When we think about successful companies like Google, Facebook, and Twitter, we tend to forget the modest beginnings from which they came. As Paul Graham recently wrote, “Think of some successful startups. How many of their launches do you remember?”
Well in celebration of modest beginnings, here’s a dose of reality: I recently came across the landing pages of some of the most successful companies we know. This is something everyone should to see.
The moral of the story: don’t name your company BackRub. Also, don’t worry about making something pretty, worry about making something people love. As Reid Hoffman once said, “If you are not embarrassed by the first version of your product, you’ve launched too late” (click here to tweet this quote).
(Credit goes to Phil Pickering for finding these)
Twitter’s first landing page:
Early Facebook screenshot:
Early Google homepage (from 1997):
The precursor to Google, BackRub:
An even earlier Google homepage:
Yahoo!’s homepage in 1994:
Early tumblr dashboard screenshot:
Early Amazon homepage screenshot:
Updated: More landing page goodness
Apple circa 1997:
AuctionWeb before it became eBay:
Burbn (a Foursquare clone) before it pivoted to… Instagram:
The first ever prototype of Foursquare (shown at SXSW in 2009):
Reid Hoffman’s original LinkedIn:
And finally… Reddit (some things never change):
What stands out to you? How would you have designed things differently? Post your thoughts in the comments below.