Lightweight IFTTT Makes a BIG hit!

Being as one of Tim O’Reilly’s web2.0 patterns, Lightweight and Scalability can be applied to both business model and technology. Beginning with a scalable and cost-effective approach has the following benefits:

  • Shorten the time from development to the market
  • Reduce time and cost = Faster ROI + Less risk
  • Greater adaptability

However, in order to achieve the success in web2.0, effectively scale and pivot the model to cope with ever changing environmental conditions are the key. The sooner we can recognise potential risks and failures and make change accordingly, the better we can survive.

Let’s take a look at the IFTTT, the lightweight and emerging website which offers amazing approach for mashing web services together and creating convenient outcomes. See how IFTTT managed to achieve great success just in 2 years (one of 50 Best Websites from Time)and what are their best practices:

Started up with only 2 friends and an awesome idea, IFTTT is a new website established  in 2010 offers simple but effectively approaches for users to connect web services, and even electronic appliance(Belkin’s WeMo) together, and perform specific tasks. It applies the simplest concept of programming:

IFTTT: how it works

Want to be informed when it’s gonna rain? Want to save all the photos that people tag you on facebook to your dropbox? Simply create your own “Recipe” like this:

Example of recipe: Send me a message when it's going to rain

It is so intuitive that even non-programmer can easily adapt and create their own recipes in no time. With the integration of third party APIs and their native “Channels”, indeed IFTTT provides the way to link all our favorite web services together with innovation and great convenience!

But, how they did it?

Start Small and Scale with demand: 

Small technology, revenue, and human resources model

IFTTT started with 2 friends and a beta version in the end of 2010, soon the beta attracted huge popularity with rapidly growing “recipe” amounts, eventually led IFTTT reach more than 400,000 recipes created with 62 channels, but with only 8 employee.

Syndicate business models, not coordinate:

IFTTT can be regarded as a giant web2.0 plant fed by third party APIs. The more web services that IFTTT can integrate, the more traffic and users. It has successfully created an online ecosystem for users to interact with their own recipes, their social connections and the popular web services. Now they are aiming to launch a platform for users or developers to turn their APIs into “Channels” to boost creativity and opportunity.

The cooperation with ESPN, Philips HUE bulb and Belkin WeMo: multi-device Control further facilitate IFTTT’s syndication with different business models to create more possibilities for cross-field collaboration.

ifttt003

However, Twitter decided to change their policy on how third party applications can access and interact with Twitter’s data. That is , users can longer use Twitter as a valid “Trigger” to perform something like: “IF anyone tweets about Web2.0, THEN send me an email”. Though it is still okay to have “IF I check in on Foursquare, THEN tweet”, where Twitter acts as “Action”.

Market virally without spending money on advertising! 

Since the launch in December, 2010 till now, IFTTT grows bigger with increasing Channels and viral popularity among internet users. Their huge success should attribute to the nature of social media: recommendations from popular bloggers and websites such as Forbes, The New York Times, Wired, Time and TechCrunch

Not to mention that how easy we can create a recipe and share it with our friends on Google, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and many other social media platforms.

My Suggestions for IFTTT:

Though IFTTT is still in its early stages, it is better to start to further improve their current business model, for how to make profit. Possible approaches will be:

Premium and Customised Recipes: users can easily have their customised recipes done with extra fees. It would be awesome if there exist one platform where I can integrate all my recipes together and perform more complex task such as: IF the temperature is below 15 °C, THEN turn on the heating 10 mins AFTER I check out from campus. 

Cross-sell and collaborate with other business:  Strategic collaborate with other online service and encourage users to sign up for a new service through IFTTT’s Channels. Possible partners include public transportation API, Cinemas and even restaurants.

Reference List:

IFTTT, A Glue Gun For Sticking The Web Together, Raises $1.5M Seed Round From Top Investors, Eric Eldon, Jan 04, 2012
How to Never Miss a Deal with IFTTT, Thorin Klosowski, Mar 15, 2013
Twitter Screws Up IFTTT.com For The Rest Of Us, Erik Deckers, Sep 21, 2012
10 IFTTT Recipes to Optimise Your Business, Stephanie Buck, MAR 29, 2013. 
IFTTT: San Francisco Startup Lets Anyone Control The Internet of Things, Elise Ackerman, Sep 23, 2012

What Is Web 2.0, Tim O’Reilly, Sep 30, 2005