Startup Pivots Don’t Actually Matter
In late 2013 Cowboy Ventures did an analysis of U.S.-based tech companies started in the last 10 years, now valued at $1 billion. They found39 of these companies. They called them the “Unicorn Club.” The article summarized 10 key learnings from the Unicorn club. Surprisingly, one of the “learnings” said that “the ‘big pivot’ after starting with […]

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Hussein Hallak

Startup Pivots Don’t Actually Matter

In late 2013 Cowboy Ventures did an analysis of U.S.-based tech companies started in the last 10 years, now valued at $1 billion. They found39 of these companies. They called them the “Unicorn Club.”

The article summarized 10 key learnings from the Unicorn club. Surprisingly, one of the “learnings” said that “the ‘big pivot’ after starting with a different initial product is an outlier. Nearly 90 percent of companies are working on their original product vision. The four ‘pivots’ after a different initial product were all in consumer companies (Groupon, Instagram, Pinterest and Fab).”

One of my students sent me the article and asked, “What does this mean?” That’s a good question.

Since the pivot is one of the core concepts of my Lean Startup methodology I was puzzled. Could I be wrong? Is it possible pivots really don’t matter if you want to be a Unicorn?

Short answer: Almost all the Unicorns pivoted. The authors of the article didn’t understand what a pivot was.



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