Tech Observer reported earlier this week about the hot NY startup Charbeat, which just raised $3 million and is bringing onboard some interesting investors.
Today we learned a little history about the site from Betaworks CEO John Borthwick. Turns out the product started as a service called firef.ly, which let publishers send messages to visitors on their site in real time. Problem was there was often so little traffic, “our product was in essence making our customers depressed.”
So Borthwick did what he does best. Took the project out in the back and shot it. In just 40 days, Betaworks turned the dead messanging service firef.ly from messaging into a new monitoring tool named Chartbeat, which immediately attracted big name clients like The Onion and Gawker.
It’s a perfect example of Borthwick’s philosophy in action. Build cheap and fast, iterate often. They took a product that embarrassed their customers, and transformed it into something that’s downright addictive.