Idea Maze

Brief Notes on the Idea Maze

Some brief observations on the cases so far. Use this as a starting point, not an authoritative take.

Microsoft Office - Suite Success

Word and Excel were far from industry leaders when they first launched. They were late to the market and second rate, at best. This is the story of how Microsoft came up with the Office bundle — and how, over the next decade, it won.

Amazon Prime - Burn to Grow

It took two years before it became clear that Prime was working. How, and why, Amazon stuck with it.

Instagram - The Bigger Picture

The convoluted, right-place-right-time story of Instagram's rise.

General Magic - The Future, Too Early

The first attempt at building the iPhone came two decades too early.

PayPal - The Beamers Didn't Come

How Paypal went from sending money through Palm Pilots to sending money through email.

The iPhone Keyboard - Make It or Break It

Building the first iPhone's touchscreen keyboard was a make-it-or-break-it moment for the iPhone. Succeed, and the iPhone was possible. Fail, and the iPhone would've been shelved. This is its story.

TikTok - One Very Long Year

As hyper-addictive as it is today, TikTok's success took longer than you might think.