Entrepreneur Advice: The Straight Truth About “The Pivot”

What’s the difference between a risky, ill-conceived roll of the dice and a bold, stroke-of-genius pivot? Why, success, of course.

the pivot

Alternatively mocked and romanticized, The Pivot has become a fundamental element of the classic startup narrative. TechCrunch contributor Semil Shah highlights some of the most notable pivots of 2012, and explores “just how powerful (and risky) these moves can be.”

“If a startup company matures and is able to achieve some level of success, we sometimes begin to hear from the founders about how they changed course along the way,” writes Shah. “Either through a slight tweak, massive reset, or something in between.” Shah walks readers through three examples of gut-check pivots, including Blippy’s recent endeavor, Tophattr, and ridesharing startup Zimride’s launch of Lyft, which Shah refers to as “perhaps the most notable pivot of 2012.”

“I am not advocating for gambling blind,” Shah writes, “but…as a friend and former venture capitalist recently remarked, ‘if you’re a founder whose business doesn’t have a chance to be #1 in its market, pivot. The risk/reward question doesn’t make sense for you.’ And economic incentives aside, isn’t that why we’re all here playing this beautiful game, to take big risks and constantly reinvent?”

photo by: Ed Yourdon

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