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Beware Of Startups That Want To Pivot

Mauro Sanhueza-Celsi

The term “pivot” has gained aura and prominence, in large measure due to its place in Eric Ries’ “lean start-up” method. Eric outlines some of his thinking in the video linked below. The key point is: investors and entrepreneurs both need to do a mental pivot to a fresh perspective on the company, and not get trapped by inertia. Big/late pivots are a new commitment. Go ahead if you believe strongly in the vision and the team. Otherwise it’s time to take your lumps.

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  • Ben Goldhirsh

    pivoting is hard. having been a part of the pivot here - from a media model with an audience, to a community with members - I've been blown away by what an interesting/challenging/and I guess awesome experience this navigation has been. Some worthwhile lessons. Firstly, the more history, weight, momentum, revenue, staff existing in your current effort, the more challenging the pivot seems to be. I thought a year past when we announced this shift, the pivot would happen, and we'd be off on a new direction. It's more like turning a car while driving on an iced over lake. You turn, but you continue in your previous direction for a long period while you wait for your wheels to catch. this analog is a bit busted as it speaks to waiting for traction, and the real issue is the following:

    1) you have an awareness of an opportunity/need. WIth that awareness, you move. you make the "pivot"
    2) it takes a while to move from awareness to understanding, where you fully digest what this pivot really entails - from a behavior standpoint you have your old muscle memory driving away and this needs to give way to new muscles (i.e. new skills, new expertise).
    3) with that understanding you begin exercising the new muscles related to the new direction and bringing on new teammates native to that direction - I think this phase is about efficacy.
    4) at that point, I think you get down to execution - having the discipline and focus to do your best, learn, and improve.

    I've been really blown away by how hard it is to get from awareness to understanding, and then to efficacy and execution. Anyhow, much appreciate you sharing this and glad to dig into what is a super important issue for any one trying to execute a social effort and needing to be navigating in real time to try and achieve goals. Have you had any pivot experiences that left some lessons on your brain?