To me, pivoting is making a significant change in direction. Many people are not aware that some of today's products result from a pivot. We'll look at seven companies that made meaningful, significant changes resulting in ultimate success.
Achieving Success by Pivoting Your Innovation
PayPal started as a digital “I owe you” platform. Today, it is a major payment transaction platform that gave birth to the “PayPal mafia, ” including Elon Musk. The successful pivot was Airbnb, which initially offered housing for conferences and air mattresses.
The third company is Twitter, which started as a podcast platform called Odeo. I was on show five or six in the early days of the platform. When iTunes came out with their podcast app, they put similar platforms such as Odeo out of business. As a result, Jack Dorsey and his team brainstormed, found inspiration, and pivoted, coming up with Twitter.
Next up is Western Union, which was a telegram company founded in the 1800s. In recent years, the company pivoted and became a money transfer company. Today, the company handles shy of $9 billion a year. I use Western Union for non-profit and for-profit work in Rwanda.
The next company that has done major pivots is Slack, which I am an avid user of. Slack started as a video game venture called Glitch. When they couldn't get any interest in their idea, they switched to a messaging platform and found success.
Nintendo and Pivoting
Nintendo has been around since the 1880s and has been in many different businesses. They started off making playing cards and then pivoted to taxi services. Next, Nintendo made instant rice cookers and then pivoted to hourly hotel rooms. Eventually, they pivoted into the early video game space and became the company we know today.
Developed initially to clean up coal dust off walls, Playdoh pivoted to a toy that I grew up using as a kid. Heat sources switched from coal to oil, gas, then natural heat, the market for Playdoh dried up. The company realized teachers were getting creative with Playdoh in the classroom and pivoted their business to a different target market.
To pivot successfully, you should treat it like any other area of innovation. First, find your area of focus and ideate. Next, rank your ideas and execute them. Pivoting is better than going bankrupt. I did thirteen startups before my first IPO at Telligent.
Pivoting is a skill that innovators need to have and an action they need to be willing to take. Additionally, it would be best to be dedicated and on the same page as your team to pivot successfully. Next, you need to be willing to change. Don't fall in love with your innovation and refuse to let go. Thirdly, you have to move very quickly to pivot successfully. Lastly, please choose what you will be doing and commit to it.
To know more about achieving innovation success by pivoting, listen to this week's show: Achieving Success by Pivoting Your Innovation.