The Pivot (Tue Oct 17, lecture 12)

Homework due for today

Legend: :Participation :Early :PDF

  1. Read: “The Lean Startup”, Chapter 8. This chapter is about pivoting (or not!) Please answer the following warmup questions: * Often the term “runway” is used in startup financing to refer to how many months there are to go before the money runs out. Eric Ries says “A startup’s runway is the number of pivots it can still make.” What is he trying to get at? Is there a real difference in his statement? What is he reminding us of? * If several of your hypotheses are invalidated through experiments, does that mean that you have to Pivot? Explain. * It’s been said (by me among others) that an MVP is neither minimum, viable nor a product. Can you explain why that might be a valid statement, or not? * What 1 or 2 important things from the reading did you not understand? And if you understood it all, then what 1 or 2 important things were most insightful/useful/valuable to you. Please make sure I can tell which is which! * Deliverable: Answer the Warmup questions in Latte .
  2. Read: and prepare for a class discussion
  3. New Iteration: We are now starting weekly iterations. * In general you and your team will decide what to do for each iteration using Agile techniques and trello to coordinate your work. Each week the team should write a brief iteration retrospective, summarizing in bullet form how the iteration went, what was achieved, where you are stuck or confused and email it to your TA partner. Refer to Scrum Meeting for insight into the three questions. Also store it in Latte. * Update this Term Project Dashboard. Include: Your trello URL, your Google Drive URL, the URL to your draft term project report, and the time/place for your weekly meeting. We will fill in the name of your TA partner.


  • Quick review of homeworks, participation, and marks. See Homework info
  • Discuss question from readings.

Discuss weekly iterations:

Three questions: Each team spend a few minutes in discussing your “three questions” and select one person to report out to the class.


  • Why do we do a pivot? What are the signs that one should be contemplated?
  • When is it a pivot vs. a simple change to try to respond to feedback?
    • When it’s a change to a ‘core assumption’ ?
    • When it’s a change to a ‘article of faith’ assumption?
  • Depending on the reason of the pivot, you will consider ways in which to change plans

Categories of Pivot

  • Zoom in pivot - Subset of product is what matters
  • Zoom out pivot - Product is too narrow - generalize it
  • Customer Segment pivot - Product solves a real problem, but there’s a different market that needs it more
  • Customer need pivot - Market we are looking at has very strong needs, but the problem we are solving is not the biggest need
  • Platform pivot - Go from point product to a platform or vice versa
  • Technology pivot - Change core technology
  • Channel pivot - Change how you get the product to the customer, or change from a product to a service
  • Value Capture pivot - A basic change in the business model or how the business is financed.

Discussion: Describe each one and give an example. Are these all the kinds that exist?


Next Class