Thursday, April 26, 2012

Pivot Points

I caught a great Wall Street Journal on the way in to work today (yes, as in Reading While Walking) about how successful tech entrepreneurs 'pivot' when they identify better ways to do business, or even entirely new ways to use their sites.  The article, by the way, is here

Twitter, Instagram, and Groupon are all great examples of sites that became successful with a model that they didn't begin with.  As I wrote about a few days ago here, is a great example of a 'pivoting' success, too.  When Ben was on the Daily Show, he talked about the various site iterations with Jon Stewart; only when the site became petition-focused, he said, did it really take off. 

One of my favorite quotes in the article was this: "...That prompted Mr. Graham to launch a program targeting groups that don't have an idea yet.  It will begin this summer in Silicon Valley." 

I love it.  The guy who founded Y Combinator is basically saying that he doesn't care whether you even have a clue as to what you'll produce -- if the right mix of people with the right set of skills is in place, good things are just going to happen.

Beyond some of the obvious factors (tech skill, hard work, ability to 'pitch' to angels, etc.) I would add that there's an intangible that a successful entrepreneur needs, which is an ability to perceive market demand, whether in its current form or down the line.  The hardest thing for an entrepreneur to sometimes do is to step beyond 'The Big Thing' that's his or her passion, and ask the right questions about whether others would share the love, so to speak. 

To take it local, that's a big factor in what separates success stories (Brew'd Awakening) from colossal busts (Rimz-U-Like). 

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