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To pivot or not is no more a question

Picture of Pankaj Sharma
Pankaj Sharma
The Pivot
// // Why pivoting is not a bad thing in today’s startup world. Some leading brands have pivoted their way to success ...

In the world of entrepreneurship, the term “pivot” has become synonymous with adaptability and resilience. Contrary to conventional wisdom, pivoting (the process of making a fundamental change in a business strategy) is not a sign of failure but a strategic manoeuvre that can be a defining point for startups. This article explores why pivoting is not a bad thing and highlights five remarkable startup companies that exemplify how their ‘pivot concepts’ were better than their ‘original ideas’.

Why Pivoting Is No Bad Thing

  • Market Alignment: The initial idea might not always align with market demands. Pivoting allows startups to realign their products or services with what customers truly need, increasing the chances of success.
  • Learning from Failure: Pivoting often follows a period of experimentation. Failure is not the end but a stepping stone to discovering a more viable path forward.
  • Adaptability: The business landscape is dynamic. Pivoting demonstrates a startup’s ability to adapt to changing circumstances, a valuable skill for long-term success.
  • Innovation: Pivoting can lead to innovative solutions and unique value propositions that set a startup apart from competitors.
  • Investor Confidence: Investors appreciate founders who can pivot when necessary. It showcases a commitment to making the venture work, which can attract additional funding.

Top 5 Startup Companies that Nailed the Pivot

  • Twitter: Originally known as Odeo, a struggling podcasting platform. However, when Apple announced its own podcasting service, Odeo pivoted and became Twitter, a microblogging platform that revolutionized online communication, initially over SMS.
  • Slack: Originally a gaming company called Tiny Speck, Slack emerged when its founders realized that the internal communication tool they had built for their team could solve a widespread problem. This pivot transformed Slack into one of the leading team collaboration platforms.
  • Instagram: Initially a location-based social network called Burbn, it became clear that users were more interested in its photo-sharing element. Instagram was born, focusing solely on photo sharing, and it quickly became a global sensation.
  • Pandora: Originally named Savage Beast, this music recommendation service pivoted into Pandora Radio, offering personalized music streams based on user preferences. This shift catapulted Pandora into the mainstream music scene.
  • Groupon: The founders started with a website called “The Point,” which aimed to mobilize collective action for various causes. Realizing the potential of their coupon-based idea, they pivoted to create Groupon, a successful daily deals platform.

These examples illustrate how successful startups didn’t stick stubbornly to their original ideas but instead embraced pivoting as a strategic move towards success. They recognized market opportunities, listened to their users, and adjusted their business models accordingly.

In conclusion, pivoting is a natural and often necessary part of the entrepreneurial journey. It signifies adaptability, resilience, and a commitment to finding the right path to success. The stories of Twitter, Slack, Instagram, Pandora, and Groupon showcase that pivoting can be the catalyst for remarkable achievements in the ever-evolving startup landscape. Entrepreneurs should view pivoting not as a setback but as a strategic maneuver that can lead to greater success than they ever imagined.

Go the pivot!


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Picture of Pankaj Sharma

Pankaj Sharma

Co-founder, former co-founder Toast My Curry, and couple of other startups, Pankaj is passionate about anything to do with startup life. With more than 20+ years in media, advertising and communication, Pankaj enjoys merging his passion of media and startup here at Startup News… apart from travelling around the world.
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