Take the case of Instagram for example. From a US$500,000 seed funding round in 2010, the founders grew from strength to strength, and reportedly raised US$50 million from venture capitalists in 2012; the same week the app was downloaded more than one million times in less than one day, valuing the company at US$500 million. Three months later, it was the fifth app to ever reach one million ratings on Google Play, and the rest is history – Facebook offering them to buy them for US$1 Billion, turning them into a unicorn.
There is no denying that many other variables had contributed to the success of Instagram. Nevertheless, a defining element in the equation was their ability to harness the power of the crowd by solving a gap/problem in society (the need for a photo-sharing app that built upon the new dynamics created by cameras embedded within the mobile phone), impacting social and economic dynamics. From 1 million registered users in 2010, Instagram announced 150 million active users in 2013. By middle 2012, 58 photographs were being uploaded and a new user was being gained each second – what a remarkable display of the power of the crowd!
Indeed, the crowd is the future, and both start-ups and established businesses, should transcend from being more efficient at their existing business, but at how their business/ideas can solve for a gap/problem in society moving forward, and harness the power of the crowd to achieve exponential growth potential.