0
Pivots are Overrated
How Small Changes Can Unlock
Markets
I Confess
if this doesn’t work…
we can always “pivot”
And your time is taken looking
toward failure
If William Gibbons is right…
“The future is here it’s just not evenly
distributed yet”
then this is your time to
Pay Atten...
It’s 1994…
and I am the CFO/EVP at Chronicle Books
7/15/2014 • 6
Amazon was just coming on the scene – July ‘94
Print was starting to decline a bit in stores
Authors were demanding more o...
One of the first publishers to focus on communities
Food communities within SF
We were developing a children’s line
And ex...
Investing significantly in legal talent to mange all of
our copyright and permission issues
Cost of publishing higher end ...
The publishing model was in transition
Market conditions made us question our future
Digital (the future) was not a compet...
Or Not
7/15/2014 • 11
What was our core competency?
What are our greatest owned assets?
How were our human and material assets
deployed?
How cou...
Some of our bestselling titles were from highly
talented and well respected folks in the Art and
Design communities
Richar...
And went back to our talent pool with the idea of
using their pre-secured permissions to develop new
products
We used our ...
And Launched a New Division
7/15/2014 • 15
..all based on derivative works
Independent bookstores felt we were “bastardizing”
publishing
Large chain stores had no shelving mechanisms for
products w...
We hired a specialty rep group that sold
products into gift stores like Hallmark
Which led to the first Chronicle Books bo...
And the new division started working
7/15/2014 • 18
So we paid attention…and now a large
portion (debated between 30-50%) of
what’s sold in traditional bookstores is
non-book...
7/15/2014 • 20
So that was then…this is now
Don’t be a futurist: be a now-
ist.
Joi Ito – MIT Media
Lab
7/15/2014 • 22
Mission, Vision and Values
Mission: Changing the World by Spreading the Knowledge
of Innovators
Vision:
We…...
7/15/2014 • 23
Long Term Objective
To build a thriving, next generation media company
that survives its founders through a...
Old Growth Model – Structured as a
Product Organization
Books
Conferences
7/15/2014 • 25
But How…by Paying Attention
The same lessons from Chronicle would apply here
as well…
What were our core co...
7/15/2014 • 26
7/15/2014 • 27
Practice Area Framework
MAKE:
DIY
CODE:
Developers
Practice Area
Audience
Segments
Product Line
Velocity:
W...
 Respond more effectively to key trends shaping the global
landscape
 Deliver integrated year round content and services...
So We Flipped the Structure
Editorial / Content Production
as a Capability
Event
Production as a
Capability
And we created a platform for growth we
call
…The Extensibility Model
Programming
OPEN SOURCE CONVENTION
open source convention
Data
Web Ops
& Performance
So what was marketing became product
And engagement became year-long
7/15/2014 • 37
Stay true to your core values
Pay attention to your human and material assets
today
Remember small changes can grow new ma...
And next time you’re in a bookstore…
7/15/2014 • 39
Laura Baldwin - Pivots are overrated: How small changes can unlock markets
Laura Baldwin - Pivots are overrated: How small changes can unlock markets
Laura Baldwin - Pivots are overrated: How small changes can unlock markets
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Laura Baldwin - Pivots are overrated: How small changes can unlock markets

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Startupfest 2014 - In business, the grass is always greener elsewhere. It’s tempting to pivot, rather than leveraging your strengths and carefully tweaking the business model. In this talk, Laura Baldwin draws on her experience at Chronicle Books, O’Reilly Media, and elsewhere to show how even the tiniest shift in how a company operates can have far-reaching impacts and reveal entirely new products and markets.

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  • I love the Lean Startup methodology…and I’m a fan of Eric Reis (we even publish his Lean Series at O’Reilly) but I see the term pivot as something startups are always thinking about…almost aspiriing to….a sort of if this doens’t work we’ll figure something else out. While I love the conceot all too often it makes you miss the opoptuhnties right in fromt of your face
  • I love the Lean Startup metholdology…and I’m a fan of Eric Reis (we vene publish his Lean Series at O’Reilly) but I see the term pivit as something startups are always thinking about..a sort of if theis does’t work we can always pivot.
  • What I want to talk about is what I call paying attention…to your human and material assets
  • Most of you were probably toddlers
  • Now a days authors secure their own permissions but in the past publishers did a lot of that work
  • We could have said publishging is not working…we could have focused on new models that weren;t publishing…instead we stepped back and sjed some serious questions
  • I mentioend legal invetsment to deal with permissions
  • I mentioend legal invetsment to deal with permissions
  • I mentioend legal invetsment to deal with permissions
  • I see from our OATV investmensts and the start ups O’Reilly engages with at our tech events…everyone;s always thinking about what’s next, what the future holds…and loses sight of what’s there today
  • O’Reilly’s story
  • I see from our OATV investmensts and the start ups O’Reilly engages with at our tech events…everyone;s always thinking about what’s next, what the future holds…and loses sight of what’s there today
  • I see from our OATV investmensts and the start ups O’Reilly engages with at our tech events…everyone;s always thinking about what’s next, what the future holds…and loses sight of what’s there today
  • All the sam factors were affecting us
  • I see from our OATV investmensts and the start ups O’Reilly engages with at our tech events…everyone;s always thinking about what’s next, what the future holds…and loses sight of what’s there today
  • I see from our OATV investmensts and the start ups O’Reilly engages with at our tech events…everyone;s always thinking about what’s next, what the future holds…and loses sight of what’s there today
  • I see from our OATV investmensts and the start ups O’Reilly engages with at our tech events…everyone;s always thinking about what’s next, what the future holds…and loses sight of what’s there today
  • But the most important message be who you are
  • So what to do
  • So what to do
  • Transcript of "Laura Baldwin - Pivots are overrated: How small changes can unlock markets"

    1. 1. Pivots are Overrated How Small Changes Can Unlock Markets
    2. 2. I Confess
    3. 3. if this doesn’t work… we can always “pivot” And your time is taken looking toward failure
    4. 4. If William Gibbons is right… “The future is here it’s just not evenly distributed yet” then this is your time to Pay Attention
    5. 5. It’s 1994… and I am the CFO/EVP at Chronicle Books 7/15/2014 • 6
    6. 6. Amazon was just coming on the scene – July ‘94 Print was starting to decline a bit in stores Authors were demanding more options Legal/copyright issues were requiring more legal work within publishing companies Publishing was starting to feel the effects of the upcoming digital revolution 7/15/2014 • 7
    7. 7. One of the first publishers to focus on communities Food communities within SF We were developing a children’s line And expanding our Art/Coffee Table books by hiring talent Caroline Herter of S&S came on board For Chronicle Books we still were growing… 7/15/2014 • 8
    8. 8. Investing significantly in legal talent to mange all of our copyright and permission issues Cost of publishing higher end Art and Photography books was escalating as technologies advanced Profits were eroding slightly and digital was in its infancy but our titles were not digital friendly at the time…and there was no iPad  But things were changing… 7/15/2014 • 9
    9. 9. The publishing model was in transition Market conditions made us question our future Digital (the future) was not a competency In today’s language…. TIME TO PIVOT So what to do…. 7/15/2014 • 10
    10. 10. Or Not 7/15/2014 • 11
    11. 11. What was our core competency? What are our greatest owned assets? How were our human and material assets deployed? How could we capitalize on them? Time to Pay Attention 7/15/2014 • 12
    12. 12. Some of our bestselling titles were from highly talented and well respected folks in the Art and Design communities Richard Deibenkorn Debra Schenck Let’s Capitalize on Assets 7/15/2014 • 13
    13. 13. And went back to our talent pool with the idea of using their pre-secured permissions to develop new products We used our core competency of editorial creativity to develop a series of notecards, giftcards and other products that capitalized on the permissions we already owned So we got creative…. 7/15/2014 • 14
    14. 14. And Launched a New Division 7/15/2014 • 15 ..all based on derivative works
    15. 15. Independent bookstores felt we were “bastardizing” publishing Large chain stores had no shelving mechanisms for products without BISAC * codes * Book Industry Standards and Communications But we didn’t give up…. But the markets were not so accepting 7/15/2014 • 16
    16. 16. We hired a specialty rep group that sold products into gift stores like Hallmark Which led to the first Chronicle Books books carried in gourmet stores like Williams Sonoma…who then went on to produce their own book line Once we had some sales we went back to our own markets (namely Borders) who finally agreed to take a chance If we couldn’t get traction in our markets we’d go to other markets 7/15/2014 • 17
    17. 17. And the new division started working 7/15/2014 • 18
    18. 18. So we paid attention…and now a large portion (debated between 30-50%) of what’s sold in traditional bookstores is non-book ancillary product… 7/15/2014 • 19
    19. 19. 7/15/2014 • 20 So that was then…this is now Don’t be a futurist: be a now- ist. Joi Ito – MIT Media Lab
    20. 20. 7/15/2014 • 22 Mission, Vision and Values Mission: Changing the World by Spreading the Knowledge of Innovators Vision: We…Work on Stuff that Matters We…Create more value than we capture We…Create a context in which other people can think We achieve our mission by espousing and acting upon our core values Openness Honesty Integrity Neutrality And ultimately…Doing The Right Thing – for our customers, the market and our employees
    21. 21. 7/15/2014 • 23 Long Term Objective To build a thriving, next generation media company that survives its founders through a diversified international business strategy that goes beyond books and conferences and accelerates the rate of positive global change.
    22. 22. Old Growth Model – Structured as a Product Organization Books Conferences
    23. 23. 7/15/2014 • 25 But How…by Paying Attention The same lessons from Chronicle would apply here as well… What were our core competencies? Editorial insights, event production, research What were our greatest owned assets? Brand, employee talent, community based on- line platform (oreilly.com) How could we capitalize on them? Restructure to focus on audience not products
    24. 24. 7/15/2014 • 26
    25. 25. 7/15/2014 • 27 Practice Area Framework MAKE: DIY CODE: Developers Practice Area Audience Segments Product Line Velocity: Web Ops TOC: Publishing Health 2.0: Health IT Missing Manuals: Consumer Strata: Data
    26. 26.  Respond more effectively to key trends shaping the global landscape  Deliver integrated year round content and services to audience  Ability to offer higher value sponsorship packages that are year round, rather than single point in time  Increase transaction sizes through bundling: customer purchases book, training, conference, membership package, etc.  Exponentially grow the business by adopting new areas as opportunities arise Practice Areas
    27. 27. So We Flipped the Structure Editorial / Content Production as a Capability Event Production as a Capability
    28. 28. And we created a platform for growth we call …The Extensibility Model
    29. 29. Programming OPEN SOURCE CONVENTION open source convention
    30. 30. Data
    31. 31. Web Ops & Performance
    32. 32. So what was marketing became product
    33. 33. And engagement became year-long
    34. 34. 7/15/2014 • 37
    35. 35. Stay true to your core values Pay attention to your human and material assets today Remember small changes can grow new markets and new opportunities Stop thinking about the Pivot…think about capitalizing now Be a Now-ist…Lessons Learned 7/15/2014 • 38
    36. 36. And next time you’re in a bookstore… 7/15/2014 • 39
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