Scott Adams of Dilbert fame, but recent co-founder of startup CalendarTree.com explains what it means to pivot and why it matters:
So imagine if you will, some of the smartest, most rational humans the world has ever created, wallowing around in the absurdity of Silicon Valley, where success is mostly based on luck. How does one feel good about that? And what is the solution?Update: More here: Five successful tech pivots (TechCrunch)
Answer: You institutionalize the pivot.
In other words, you move from a goal-oriented approach to a systems-oriented approach. The system involves assembling a team around a starting idea and then pivoting until something lucky happens. No one pretends to know where it will all end up.
Here's the system:
1. Form a team
2. Slap together an idea and put it on the Internet.
3. Collect data on user behavior.
4. Adjust, pivot, and try again.
Thanks to Google Analytics, Optimizely, Bitly, and other tools for measuring customer behavior in real time, a smart team can try different approaches and different products until something works out. A start-up in 2014 is a guess- testing machine.