Pivots? “Go that way, really fast. If something get in your way, turn” (from the movie “Alive Not Dead”)
ASSISTED BLIND PIVOT: I CAN’T REALLY HELP YOU WITH YOUR PIVOTS “Change based on the advice of investors, mentors, “lean startup experts“, etc. who also haven’t go.en out of the building and talked to the humans.” Check Tristan Kromer’s excellent “Taxonomy of the Startup Pivot” h(p://grasshopperherder.com/taxonomy-‐of-‐the-‐lean-‐startup-‐an-‐pivot/
Hats • Digital Naturalist – Founder of +8* | Plus Eight Star – 12 years across Asia • Startup Therapist – Angel investor in 8 startups – Advisor to 5 Accelerators • Speaker – 150+ talks in 21 countries (TEDx, SxSW, LeWeb…) – 250,000 views on Slideshare
PLAN 1. Some ideas 2. Startup 1 3. Startup 2 4. Conclusion
Two Contrarian Views • James Altucher • Nick Yang
James Altucher • Write 10 ideas a day • Throw them away I highly recommend his columns! Wring 10 ideas a day will make you realize that ideas are common. Good ideas are rare, but your chances get higher with MORE IDEAS.
Nick Yang • Ideas • Passion • Skills Nick Yang is a serial entrepreneur in China. He built (among other things) the largest mobile content provider (KongZhong) and took it to IPO.
Ideas? His view is that ideas are not so special
Thomas Edison • Not the ﬁrst light bulb • Not the only light bulb • First large-‐scale business A light bulb represents ideas “thanks” to Thomas Edison. He “owns” the symbol, but his contribuon was not what people think. To me, the light bulb is a terrible symbol for ideas.
Passion? When I hear “passion” I think of this. While it shows commitment, does it have to be painful?
Passion Can Grow • 2 types of entrepreneurs • Passionate about business • Ideas change anyway • Passion grows with work & improvement Broadly speaking, entrepreneurs are “arsts” or “business people”. Passion about business looks more “viable”.
Skills • Re-‐usable • Keep improving • Market value To Nick Yang, skills are key. Ideas are everywhere, passion can grow once results come. But nothing comes without skills.
Cmune First investment / Co-‐founding Quick story about a company I am involved in.
Pivots • Pivots – 2007 “3D collaboraon” – 2008 5 prototypes – 2009 1 game • Business – 2010 Clean up everything – 2011 Raise money from Skype Founder – 2012 1M Likes Quite a few pivots on the business side…
First Lessons • Early adopters? • No clear problem • Exisng competors • Deadpool of others But not enough research: what’s the problem? who is it for? Also found similar live and dead services, none growing much.
Product Lessons: 5 seconds rule 1. What you do 2. What I can do 3. Why it’s for me 3 things visitors have to ﬁgure out in a few seconds
Summary • “Don’t make me think” • “Charming content” Self-‐explanatory is best + Show me something I care about!
Build Minimal, Measure, Iterate Fast • Minimal funcons • Find pa=erns • Design debt Keep funcons and design as simple as possible (but not simplisc) or risk building waste and incur design/technical debt (changes take more and more me)
“To build a successful business you need a great team, a good idea and a lot of hard [and smart] work.” Startups are LOTS OF WORK
Typical startup • #FAIL • 2 years to know if you are onto something • 4 years to get somewhere • Lots of hard work and stress • Freedom? (vs. job or small business) And typically take 4 YEARS when they succeed! You will have less me and likely much less money. Be aware of that (though ignorance might also help you get started)
The Friends and Family Pivot Most startups end up with a “F & F Pivot”
“Create real products or solve real problems instead! It’s not harder, it’s just diﬀerent. Plus you can actually make a diﬀerence in someone’s life!” 4 years of your life with lots of work & no money has be(er be for something you care about
Thanks! A successful pivot: firstname.lastname@example.org | @benjaminjoﬀe