• Pivot But Don't Travel

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    Before Eric Ries came down from the mountain with his Lean Startup gospel, it was common to watch entrepreneurs continue to “grind it out” or basically take their strategy and constantly slam their plan into a market without the market showing any signs of reciprocity (or interest) until they ran out of money.

    As the concept of a pivot has been hyped and become part of our zeitgeist (see this New Yorker cartoon), I fear entrepreneurs have run too far with the concept and started traveling instead of pivoting.  

    The idea of a pivot is that at the end of each build -> measure -> learn cycle you may end up needing to pivot.  The pivot should be driven by what hypothesis you invalidated.

    However, there is a significant difference between a “pivot” and a “travel” In basketball, a player can pivot around moving one of their feet, but the second foot needs to stay planted on the ground.  If the player lifts up that second foot, they are traveling and possession changes to the other team. 

    In The Lean Startup Methodology, that foot that stays planted is your big vision.  It’s the reason you turned down that six-figure salary from Google or Facebook, to live on ramen noodles and change the world.  It’s the thing you can’t stop thinking about even on Saturday night at three in the morning.  Don’t simply “pivot” that vision away.  

    07/15/14

  • So places that try to be a smaller derivative version of the Valley inherently fail to understand what it is or, more so, what made it what it is and how long that took. Trying to play the Valley’s playbook always (always, always) fails. When you hear communities saying, “Just like they have Stanford, we have X engineering school!” they are probably doing it wrong.

    Simply put: If you want to play the Silicon Valley game, you are just best off going to the Valley.

    “Silicon Alley” is done, but New York is rising | PandoDaily

    So true!! Don’t try to be Silicon Valley, try to be the best city you are.  

    07/14/14

  • LinkedIn is a very good company with a very good business. Trying to take LinkedIn head-on seems foolish to me. Whatever will compete with LinkedIn will have to chip away at the monolith by exploiting opportunities that seems small today but are likely to become valuable over time.
    Competing with LinkedIn and the Case Against Unbundling by Charles Hudson

    06/28/14

  • We get a subscription music service that we believe is the first subscription service that really got it right. They had the insight early on to know how important human curation is. That technology by itself wasn’t enough — that it was the marriage of the two that would really be great, and produce a feeling in people that we want to produce.
    Apple’s Tim Cook Explains Beats Deal in Interview | Re/code

    05/28/14

  • Data is the voice of your customer. Data is effectively a record of an action someone in your community performed, which represents a decision they made about what to do (or not) with your product. Data scientists can translate those decisions to stories that others can understand.
    How Airbnb used data to propel its growth to a $10B valuation | VentureBeat | Big Data | by Max Song and Carl Shan

    05/21/14