Pivot: (verb) turn on or as if on a pivot. In a startup it is a strategy for iteratively searching for a repeatable and scalable business model
At christmas we reviewed our strategy based on 6 weeks of feedback from our early adopters. The decision was to pivot and change Bridger from a mobile solution to a desktop one. Another 6 weeks have passed and I have learnt a thing or two that I feel it is worth sharing.
The good news is that there is good news. While pivoting is scary, we all feel that we have a better product now emerging. The consensus is that we are gaining:
- A product that is more accessible for our users (i.e. it's on the right platform)
- One that works with a single drag and drop movement
- Has some very cool new features
- Presents results more clearly.
We think that we will resume beta testing in about 6 weeks time. So the pivot is looking to have taken less than 3 month's to achieve (assuming no hidden disasters). The mobile version of Bridger took about 18 months to develop from the prototype stage. So the pivot will take only a sixth of that time. Is that fast enough to be considered lean? No idea, it is what it is. Certainly we are continuing to operate on the whiff of an oily rag so any progress measured in weeks is a plus.
At the start of this blog, I said that pivoting is scary because the lean books and websites 'pushing' pivots don't deal with the emotional investment you make in the original concept. It is your baby and as any parent will tell you, criticism of your child is hard to take and even harder to act on.
Although at 6DD we are now all hard at work building the new desktop Bridger, there is also a feeling of of inertia that is still to be fully overcome. Maybe inertia is the wrong word. It's more like regaining momentum after stopping the original strategy and switching to the new.
That's what I've learnt so far and I don't think we are unique in this. So if you are considering a pivot then I recommend that you spend a significant effort minimizing the emotional impact on yourself and your team. It is an intangible element that can suck the life out of your venture if you don't manage it well.
After all, if the empirical evidence tells you to change tack, what other options do you have?