What Is 'Pivoting' & Why Tech Entrepreneurs Need to Know

Learning how to leverage the advances of a failed business to create a new product has proven essential to many of the world's most successful companies. It helps in raising funds, too.

What's the Latest Development?

Pivoting is the latest word out of Silicon Valley to describe a key business attribute possessed by some of the world's most innovative companies. The tech entrepreneurs who started Instagram, for example, which just sold to Facebook for $1 billion, began with an idea for an online check-in app. When that did not bear fruit, they worked through ideas until they came to a photo sharing app. Venture capitalist Tony Conrad said, "[Pivoting] represents some of the best methodology that the Valley has invented. Starting something, determining it's not working, and then leveraging aspects of that technology is extremely powerful."

What's the Big Idea?

Technology entrepreneurs of bygone eras could give themselves the liberty of a couple years to develop a new product and test the market. But today's business cycles change much more quickly. Abandoning an idea that lacks luster, and tolerating a certain amount of failure, are some of Silicon Valley's tried and tested methods of success. According to Startup Genome Compass of San Francisco, which tracks more than 13,000 Internet start-ups, "founders who change products and markets between one and three times raise more money than those who don't."

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