The core underlying factor for this is that platforms and behaviors took hold which did two crucial things for commerce, communication, and entertainment driven companies. The first was provide a graph to leverage for quick scale, Zynga on Facebook being the best example. Many others were able to leverage the social graph to quickly grow and you could include Pinterest as a benefactor here, as their core group of early users were already custom to Facebook (and other large niche networks like Etsy).
The second was that the social and mobile web on-boarded a huge swath of new users who were increasingly comfortable doing things online that they previously did offline. Purchases, communication, and self-expression really began to hit a stride because Facebook, Tumblr, and eventually Twitter attracted large audiences that you might consider "mainstream", and the companies that served those markets benefited greatly. As an example, GroupOn delivered deals via email at a time when nearly everyone had moved to web-based email solutions (and had personal emails - not just one for work). Ebay and Amazon had gotten people comfortable with purchasing online, and Groupon pitched them discounts and ease of redemption.
The big, big successes are usually about timing, catching trends that are inevitable. Twitter's an example of nailing both mobile-first and the media's inevitable transition to the web - celebrities, athletes, and big brands were the first core success stories that showed the platforms true potential. It was a product built for right now, launched seven years ago.
For new entrepreneurs, the real win is that not only are more platforms available today than ever before, but more "building blocks" exist today than ever before. You don't have to reinvent the wheel for a lot of the moving parts of a new business, and you have an almost overwhelming number of choices when it comes to finding new ways to reach an interested market.
Anyone interested in thinking about how to reach their intended market is more than welcome to reach out to me on Clarity.
I assume that rather than "built" what you really mean is "reaching critical mass" much quicker (?)
But I'll answer for both anyhow just in case.
In terms of getting built, the tools at our disposal (naturally) are much better than we've ever had before and there a amazing ecosystems and platforms out there for new ventures to tap into, which gives you immense execution capability right off the bat.
In terms of reaching critical mass far quicker, it's a few things
1. Again - Platforms, there are a number of platforms already available which facilitates capitalising on a large user base readily. Think Facebook login, or the Apple App Store. There's a huge user base already waiting. We never had that 15 years ago. New Start-Ups always had to build up their user base organically one by one. These days, get your strategy right and you have most of Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Mobile users ready at your disposal.
2. We only hear about the successful stories and not the not-so-successful ones. These companies that have reached a large critical mass so quickly are getting their execution right. They're getting their value delivery right early on and understanding what it takes to activate user virality and intelligently driving the growth.
The mixture of great strategy and platforms readily available for leverage - that combination - I think is what is creating these results.
At least - that's my observation.
And to money.
Both are increasing.
1. The accelerator craze is generating more opportunities for people to test ideas. There were 12 incubators in the USA in the 80's, now there are 1,250 in North America and over 7,000 worldwide. So, despite concerns around the startup bubble these accelerators might cause, we’re hungry for entrepreneurs and we’re investing in environments for them to build companies at an alarming rate.
2. It’s easier than it’s ever been for anyone to connect with entrepreneurs. On Twitter and LinkedIn. In co-working spaces. At coffee shops. Events. And of course, on Clarity!
So you can get advice from those who have done it before, which will increase your odds of success. Or at least help you fail faster so you can learn faster and build your next venture to faster to try and succeed faster. It's all about scale.
This hyperconnection also builds relationships around the globe, fueling even more access to mentors and resources.
3. More startup capital. Both from VCs, angels as well as newer, more nimble models, like microfinancing (74+ million entrepreneurs are involved in microfinancing with $23+ billion worth of capital) and crowdfunding.
4. On top of that, business costs keep falling due to cloud and crowdsourced technology. And access to mentorship is expediting the ability for anyone to create the next big thing.
We are at the beginning of an entrepreneurial revival. I speak a lot about this in my book, but it's not on shelves yet.
However, if you want to chat about it, give me a shout.
Best of luck!