Monday, June 16, 2008

Fast Pitch Turns 2!

Well, sort of...

This morning I took a walk down memory lane and visited the Internet Archive Wayback Machine - the digital library of the Internet that allows you to view the evolution of a particular website based on snapshots of the homepage at a moment in time. To my surprise, I discovered that...
Fast Pitch! turned TWO years old today!

On a press release dated, June 16, 2006 we offically announced our transition from a 'bricks and mortar' networking event company (which originally launched in 2003) into a social networking platform designed (initially) to help professionals locate new opportunities and leads. In retrosepct, I remember it being a monumental day not only because we officially launched, but because we somehow attracted a single person in Milwaukee, WI to create a profile. It's amazing what can happen in two years as we now have thousands of people creating profiles all around the world each and every day.

It seems like just yesterday we made the 'semi-conscious' decision on the night of June 9, 2006 to re-design our networking event portal into a rudimentary version of the social networking platform you see today. I say 'semi-conscious' because we began coding the website at 2AM while sitting poolside, putting away a bottle of rum and smoking cigars. After a few solid hours of brainstorming and database creation, Fast Pitch! was re-born!

A brief history lesson...

For those of you not aware, Fast Pitch! 'officially' launched as a business in September 2003 as a speed networking event company. For nearly 2 1/2 years the company organized events in nearly every major city in the United States. During that time, we attracted well over 10,000 professionals resulting in millions of introductions, referrals and new business. Despite all of the success, it was becoming clear that an event-based business was a lot of work... and eventually it became time to shift gears.

Beginning in early 2006 I began a slow transition onto the Internet by offering an online version of speed networking whereby professionals could create a one-page profile and join a web-ex style meeting with up to 20 other professionals. The idea was to give professionals an effective way to meet a lot of people in a short amount of time without leaving the office. Similar to the offline events, the online events were well attended and even attracted partnerships with the likes of The Manhattan Chamber of Commerce. However, much like the offline events, the business model was difficult to maintain and involved a lot of hours. Nonetheless, the effort would prove to be worthwhile as it would lead us to create the Fast Pitch! Profile... which has become the backbone to the current Fast Pitch! experience.
Beginning in March 2006, I made the conscious decision to step back from the online event business and do some research. I spent the next few months studying the 'dinasours' in the social networking industry (LinkedIn, Facebook, Ryze, etc...) to see where Fast Pitch! might fit in. It soon became clear that their was a void in the marketplace for a social network dedicated to employed professionals who would be interested in leveraging a network to not only promote themselves, but more importantly market their business.

With LinkedIn and Facebook in my cross-hairs I decided it was time to 'bribe' one of my best friends and turn a dream into a reality.

A bottle of Malibu Rum and a couple of Cuban Cigars later, I had a great business partner and an exciting new business model

The following week would see us spend countless hours pecking away at our keyboards while discussing new features and making the conscious decision to build a sustainable subscription based business model that offered clear value to our members. It worked...

Within a few short weeks we had our first subscriber and the rest is history!


What a difference two years makes...

Although we're still a relatively small company (less than 5 employees), and we still have most of our meetings poolside... we've managed to become one of the largest online business networks in the world (second only to LinkedIn in the United States in terms of paid subscribers and traffic). With a sustainable business model, continued growth and very low overhead, the next two years is looking awfully bright. Thank you to all of our members who make Fast Pitch! what it is today.

Time to break out those Cuban Cigars...

Bill

1 Comments:

Blogger Jeff said...

Congrat! I know you guys could do it!!

6:41 AM  

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