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Entreprenörskap October 10, 2012

The Pivot – so hyped and so underused

My colleague Raoul Stubbe recently wrote an excellent (yeah right, I’m not biased) blog post on ”Why Swedish entrepreneurs need more staying power”. One of the issues Raoul brought up was the PIVOT, in the context of how much harder it is to pivot here in Sweden than in the US due to how investors (and, let´s be honest, most of us) regard failure.

(If ”pivot” is still not part of your vocabulary, a nice way of defining it is ”A change in STRATEGY without a change in VISION” quote on quote from an article I recommend.)

After having spent a couple of weeks in San Francisco and Silicon Valley, and meeting with quite a few entrepreneurs there, the picture is pretty clear: The view on pivoting is definitely one of the more distinct differences between entrepreneurs here vs there. Yes, it is true that here in Sweden, in most cases the pivoting needs to be done before bringing in angels, whereas in the US the investors are used to endure one or several pivots, with the often accompanying need for additional capital.

BUT, and this is a crucial difference between success and failure for many Swedish startups I think: the fact that Swedish investors generally don´t like the idea of pivoting doesn´t lower the need for it. Quite the contrary, just because we have less capital here, because we have a lack of failure acceptance, the need for pivoting is BIGGER than in the US. Swedish entrepreneurs increase their chances of success exponentially if they embrace the thought of pivoting already from the start in their projects.

So, where does this leave the Swedish entrepreneur compared to the American? With a need of being better in both staying power according to the blog post mentioned in the beginning, AND being faster in challenging and pivoting your business model. And, of course, this is nothing less and nothing more than saying that Swedish entrepreneurs need to be better than their American colleagues in lean entrepreneurship. Iterate, iterate, iterate, and involve customers and users in every step, every work week.

Speaking of pivoting, here is a good post in Techcrunch with a number of both historical and current pivots.

Clarification: No, the number of times I´ve been using the term pivot is not an attempt to bring to the top search results on the search phrase pivot. Ehhh, Pivoting. Pivots. Pivotal. (If you have other forms of the word, please write it in the comment field.)