All you need is love? Bah, the Beatles were full of it. You need to monetize that love. Jokes about prostitution aside, that's the lesson serial entrepreneur Chris Lyman learned the hard way.
With SendLove, Lyman, a whirling dervish with a punky haircut, wanted to change the world, to allow readers to rate public figures while his business provided the scoring. At first, it seemed to work, as the site attracted 2 million visits a month and was being used by 500 publishers.
Suddenly, however, the content creators began scorning SendLove. No, they didn't rely on the flimsy excuse "It's not you; it's me." Rather, they told Lyman to show them the money. But he couldn't. So Lyman called an all-hands-on-deck meeting to discuss pivoting.
This time he wanted to tackle a knowable problem, so SendLove careened into the service sector and morphed into BetterShift, a platform for the millions of baristas, fast food fry cooks, Subway sandwich architects, and Applebee's waiters to trade shifts over smartphones. Too hungover to sling grande lattes on the morning shift? Find a replacement without rolling off your futon. Now 12% of Starbucks baristas have signed up and Lyman is trying to grow his espresso-cup sized business into a Venti one.