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Why your favorite apps and creators all pivot in January

Why your favorite apps and creators all pivot in January

There have been lots of interesting announcements from creators and startups this month. Many apps and services that once felt like they were here to stay are now shutting down. Similarly, many creators are announcing big changes to their strategy, or even stepping down from their roles entirely.

Seems like it's all happening at once, right? Well, in a sense -- it is. And there are a few reasons why that might be the case:

  • For creators, December and January are the slowest months of the year. Advertisers' budgets are spent, and people are spending time with their families. As a result, many creators use this time to reflect on the past year, and plan for the next.
  • For startups, the new year is often tied to intense budgeting and planning. The new year is a time when they need to show their investors that they're on track to meet their goals. If they're not, they may need to pivot, or even shut down.

Have you felt it? I've certainly seen a good number of surprising announcements. Here's an incomplete list of companies and creators who have announced big changes since the start of the new year:

Companies making big changes

  • A few days ago, Artifact, the news aggregator app created by the founders of Instagram, shared that they're shutting down their services, after failing to find product-market fit.
  • Mint, the personal finance app, is shutting down completely. Their orphaned users have been desperately searching for alternatives.
  • Prism Bills & Money, a finance app used for automating bill payments, is also shutting down.


Sort of both, and kind of neither

You may have seen recently that Substack is bleeding creators left and right over their spineless content moderation policy decisions (or lack thereof). Newsletter creators are jumping ship to other platforms left and right.

Patreon announced a major change to their business model, which will affect creators and patrons alike. Patreon has been the place where fans can support creators they love, by pledging a monthly amount to them. Patreon takes a cut of the pledge (though a much smaller cut than YouTube might, for example), and the rest goes to the creator.

With their new pivot, they are now hoping to become the place where fans can go to see what creators are making without being subject to the algorithm. In short, Patreon itself is trying to become a social network.

Will it work? Who knows. But it's a big change -- and while this announcement happened back in October, Patreon has been steadily rolling out changes to align with their new vision since then.

These changes create opportunities

This, dear reader, is where you come in - as the market shifts with these changes, there are opportunities for you to make your mark. If you're looking for inspiration, here are a few examples:

  • Derek Gaston (@Friedmud on Threads), is an indiehacker who has been building a personal finance app called Splurge Budget. He's been building out in the open and sharing his progress and learnings on Threads.

  • Developer-focused email platform Resend just announced feature called Broadcasts, which suddenly allows them to compete with Existing newsletter platforms and email marketing tools like Mailchimp and ConvertKit. I'm planning to give Resend's newsletter feature a shot - and hopefully livestream my experience building with it on my YouTube Channel @mikebifulco.

As ever, if you've been working on building something, now is the time to step on the gas, particularly if you're building something that suddenly fills a void which once felt permanent. Use the momentum of these changes to your advantage, and find places where you can make your mark.

Here's some things I've worked on recently:


Thanks for reading Tiny Improvements. If you found this helpful, I'd love it if you shared this with a friend. It helps me out a great deal.

Until next time - be excellent to each other!

Why your favorite apps and creators all pivot in January

The new year is a time for change. But why do so many apps and creators pivot in January? We explore the psychology behind the new year's pivot.



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