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Are you making smart adjustments or just digging holes in the ground?
One of the latest terminology developments out of Silicon Vallety is the term "pivot." If you haven't heard it yet, it basically means that the new company has decided that the original idea wasn't quite working out and it was time to change directions.
Ideally, when you say we "pivoted" in this direction or that direction, you will accompany that statement with a full description of what you "learned in the market." From a connotation standpoint, pivot also has the wonderful quality of sounding like you are in control of your destiny, that you make sharp, decisive turns, that you know how to learn.
From my standpoint, it is another term in a long line of concepts that reflect an iterative approach to solving problems. It belongs within the time-tested model of our dear friend Deming called PDCA, or "plan, do, check, act."
Perhaps, the best aspect of the term "pivot" is that it has been accepted by investors as a legitimate maneuver. It's not an "oops" or a "we were wrong" or "we're not really sure what the solution is." It means "we are smart and hip and agile."
Of course, that does not mean that the investors won't still take their pounds of flesh in the form of additional funding on their terms, but we will take what we can get. Perhaps we can shoot for a "Pivot Clause" in our next term sheet. Yeah right.
One unfortunate aspect of the term "pivot" is that it sounds like "divot." If you are a golfer, you know what a divot is. It's a hole in the ground where you missed the ball. Or perhaps you hit the ball, but the club went pretty deep into the grass and you dug up a hole. Usually when you create a divot, you have to walk over, pick up the chunk of grass and dirt, and bring it back. You drop the chunk of grass over the hole, step on it and continue on.
I might have to start using the term "divot" instead of "pivot." Sometimes when you swing at the ball, you simply miss and create a hole in the ground.
(image source: golfaustralia.com)