Why entrepreneurs need to embrace the ‘pivot’

Your digital product will pivot.

A staggering 88 percent of the Fortune 500 companies in 1955 are no longer in business today. A post-mortem analysis of many of these companies reveals the mundane: Consumers stopped buying what was being sold. Product-market fit is a business fundamental, yet hitting this moving target has proven difficult for companies of all shapes and sizes.

Product-market fit can be especially elusive for leaders of digital products. Tech spiff like [insert Silicon Valley’s flavor of the week here], combined with an entrepreneur’s eternal optimism, leads many to make poor hiring decisions based on what they see in their rose-colored telescope focused far away. Immediate challenges and tactical decisions are overlooked. We see it happen all the time.

We also see CTOs and leaders frequently take a smarter approach. The savvy avoid tunnel vision and consider their options. Seasoned CTOs understand the path to success for most digital products is not linear. They get to market fast, listen and adjust. The buzzword for this is “pivot.” The history of tech is littered with “pivoteers:” Nintendo used to manufacture playing cards (game over!). Twitter was originally intended to be a network for podcasting. YouTube began as a video dating site. Pinterest started as a mobile shopping app. And Nokia was at one time a rubber company that made galoshes. Galoshes.

The quicker a digital product can adjust to market feedback, the greater its chance of success. For companies with limited growth capital (unless you’re Apple, that’s probably you), the runway is limited and the countdown to find a strong product-market fit is on.

So, your digital product will pivot. Can your tech team?

The start-small-and-fail-fast concept is common with digital products but should also extend to your digital team. Some pivots, even small ones, can require completely new skills to accomplish. Retooling an existing development team can be a major impediment, if not a complete blocker, to moving forward. With a potential pivot on the horizon, CTOs can protect their capital and remain agile by engaging a digital partner with the capacity, dexterity and skill set to change quickly.

This article originally published on Dualboot Partners’ site

Daniel DelaCruz is a principal with Dualboot Partners, which works with management teams to build digital platforms. They have an expertise in getting new digital products to market quickly and replatforming legacy systems.