Don’t glorify the word Pivot

Last year pivot was the buzzword no 1. Startups who came to the conclusion that they where on the wrong track simply change their business model to do something else.

Now I start to see people around the web that tries to build an image of pivot to be something else. Something that has been around for ages. Let’s takes this list as an example, it is posted on the Guest blog by Martin Zwilling.

  1. Zoom-in pivot. In this case, what previously was considered a single feature in a product becomes the whole product. This highlights the value of “focus” and “minimum viable product” (MVP), delivered quickly and efficiently.
  2. Zoom-out pivot. In the reverse situation, sometimes a single feature is insufficient to support a customer set. In this type of pivot, what was considered the whole product becomes a single feature of a much larger product.
  3. Customer segment pivot. Your product may attract real customers, but not the ones in the original vision. In other words, it solves a real problem, but needs to be positioned for a more appreciative segment, and optimized for that segment.
  4. Customer need pivot. Early customer feedback indicates that the problem solved is not very important, or money isn’t available to buy. This requires repositioning, or a completely new product, to find a problem worth solving.
  5. Platform pivot. This refers to a change from an application to a platform, or vice versa. Many founders envision their solution as a platform for future products, but don’t have a single killer application just yet. Most customers buy solutions, not platforms.
  6. Business architecture pivot. Geoffrey Moore, many years ago, observed that there are two major business architectures: high margin, low volume (complex systems model), or low margin, high volume (volume operations model). You can’t do both at the same time.
  7. Value capture pivot. This refers to the monetization or revenue model. Changes to the way a startup captures value can have far-reaching consequences for business, product, and marketing strategies. The “free” model doesn’t capture much value.
  8. Engine of growth pivot. Most startups these days use one of three primary growth engines: the viral, sticky, and paid growth models. Picking the right model can dramatically affect the speed and profitability of growth.
  9. Channel pivot. In sales terminology, the mechanism by which a company delivers it product to customers is called the sales channel or distribution channel. Channel pivots usually require unique pricing, feature, and competitive positioning adjustments.
  10. Technology pivot. Sometimes a startup discovers a way to achieve the same solution by using a completely different technology. This is most relevant if the new technology can provide superior price and/or performance to improve competitive posture.

This is not something new or something related to pivot or lean for that matter. This is common sense and also part of basic leadership as well as in the foundation of building a company. Not related to either pivot or lean.

The bullets above are great and every startup should have them in mind, but to try to glorify pivot by making these bullets connected to the word pivot, that I do not understand.

If my name would be Karl Pilkington I would fly in as the new superhero Bullshit Man and call it Bullshit.

Eric Reis the front figure of lean startup have said this:

Pivot = A change in strategy without a change in vision

Course correction would be a better term and to stay with the vision but iterate the strategy is not new either. The way towards the vision is almost never crystal clear, so the change in strategy will most certain happen many times during the lifetime of a startup.

Let me finish this post with a quote by Adeo Ressi of Fonders Institute:

It truly is always darkest before the dawn in entrepreneurship. Don’t throw in the towel even when it seems the worst… It’s part of the journey of success.

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