If you’ve been following along for long enough you’ll know that for me the starting point and the North star for any startup is the ‘vision’.
The vision is the destination. The outcome. The why as Simon Sinek would say. Or as Clay Christensen would have it, the job.
The vision is not for the founder. Not for the company. And not for the investors.
But, for the customer.
In order to understand the pivot we need to consider the vision and the business model.
The vision is the only constant in a startup. Even then you’ll refine it over time. Abandoning the vision is abandoning the startup.
The business model meanwhile is what your startup needs to be doing to realise the vision for the customer.
The pivot is changing the business model without changing the vision. This is the essence of the pivot according to Eric Ries who coined the term in the startup context.
As Steve Blank reminded us the other day “a pivot is a substantive change to one or more of the 9 business model canvas components.”
Two lessons then:
- Changing the product is just one way to pivot. Stay open to changing any and all aspects of the business model.
- Like sat-nav rerouting, multiple pivots are needed to realise the vision for the customer and thereby success for a startup.
Change is the only Constant
Brian Balfour explains the 4 reasons why systematic growth is iterative: 1) Product Is Always Evolving, 2) Audience Is Always Shifting, 3) Channels Change Constantly, 4) Tactic Fatigue. Brian then walks through 5 things your growth team need to do embrace constant change: A) Build A Culture of Constant Experimentation, B) Constantly Validate Old Playbooks, Ditch The Ones That Don’t Work Anymore, C) Balance Your Portfolio of Bets, D) Accelerate Your Growth Team Investment As You Keep Growing, E) Hire For Grit and Resilience.
How to get Acquired
Mark Zuckerberg recently revealed some of the factors in his decisions to acquire startups. It struck me that these make sense for any startup that wants to get acquired. So: 1) Build relationships first, 2) Have a shared vision, 3) Expect scare tactics, 4) Be prepared to move fast.
Social Influencer Marketing
“Social media influencers can help share your brand message to a wider, yet tailored, audience.” says Juliet Carnoy. She runs through a six-step program to identify and connect with the right influencers on social media to spread the word about your message and your product.
How to Report to Investors
Ed Shelly has collected tips from ‘trusted thought leaders and VCs’ on how to update investors, what to say, how to say it and how often.
Reporting to VCs
Brad Feld should know how and how often. His bottom-line recommendation is for quarterly board meetings and a monthly financial package. The package to include P&L, Balance Sheet, and Cash Flow statements. Actuals to budget for monthly, quarterly, and YTD. Trailing 12 months of each (P&L, BS, CF). To be sent to the board and the executive team.
Sovereign Wealth Funds
Sovereign wealth funds — government owned investment vehicles — have become increasingly active tech investors over the last few years. CB Insights spills the beans on the 10 most active and what they’re investing in. The biggest deal by any of them in 2016 to a tech company was $4.5 billion Series-B to Ant Financial Services.
Bleak Outlook for European & UK Banking
McKinsey’s recent report A Brave New World for Global Banking has this to say about the European & UK banking sector: The slow-growth/low-interest-rate environment will continue to eat into banks’ income, particularly in Europe and the UK, putting $35 billion (31 percent) of profits at risk. If combined with further digital disruption, this could cut already low profits in Europe and the UK from $110 billion today to about $50 billion by 2020, even after some basic mitigating measures by banks, and reduce already-low ROEs from around 3 to 4 percent today to 1 to 2 percent by 2020.
America’s black people have a spending power of $1.2 trillion. Teri Williams discusses how and why black people are moving their money from traditional banks to black-owned banks in a larger bid to protect the their economic interests.
AI & Machine Learning: 6 Areas to Watch
Nathan Benaich rounds-up what he believes are the six areas of artificial intelligence and machine learning that are “particularly noteworthy in their ability to impact the future of digital products and services. I describe what they are, why they are important, how they are being used today.”
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