Taxonomy of the Lean Startup Anti-Pivot

Pivoting has been up and down the Gartner Hype Cycle at least twice now. Sometimes it’s an accurate term to describe what entrepreneurs have to do to survive: adapt to customer feedback.

However, sometimes it’s an annoying buzzword that is poorly understood and grating to the ears. I’m on a constant search for good patterns for entrepreneurs to follow and bad anti-patterns to avoid. So as a follow up to my Taxonomy of the Lean Startup Pivot, here is the Taxonomy of the Lean Startup Anti-Pivot. Complete with a piñata!

(Special thanks to Mike Woloszynowicz – @mkbiz for coming up with the term “Blind Pivot” and inspiring this post.)

The Blind Pivot

Blind Pivot – Changing business models without getting out of the building and talking to the humans.

The Assisted Blind Pivot

Assisted Blind Pivot – Changing business models based on the advice of investors, mentors, “lean startup experts“, or other individuals who also haven’t gotten out of the building and talked to the humans.

The Stealth Pivot

Stealth Pivot – No one can know it and you’re not willing to discuss it, but you pivoted really really hard.

The Buzzword Pivot

Buzzword Pivot – Changing business models in order to incorporate a buzzword more likely to generate investment interest.

The Trust Fund Pivot

Trust Fund Pivot – Shifting from a heavy investment strategy to a more bootstrapped model based on an utter lack of investor interest.

The Statistically Significant Pivot

Statistically Significant Pivot – Changing business models based on a statistically significant sample size of responses to a poorly written survey.

The Launch Date Pivot

Launch Date Pivot – Postponing the product or service launch until after raising funding because of the possibility that poor traction could be mistakenly perceived by investors as a lack of customer interest.

The Superstitious Pivot

Superstitious Pivot – Changing the business model because according to the Startup Genome project successful companies pivot 2.7 times. (Also know as the “I Assume Official Looking Documents with Footnotes are Methodologically Sound” Pivot.)

The Hipster Pivot

Hipster Pivot – Changing the business model because the old idea was just so uncool and unmotivating to work on.

The Friends and Family Pivot

Friends and Family Pivot – Changing the business model to getting a real job because you’ve lost all your friend’s and family’s money and your Dad starts yelling at you to get a job.

Got another you’d like to share? Let me know in the comments.

Here’s the complete presentation embedded below which has an easter egg or two for SF folks:

Discussion (12 comments)

  1. Girish says:

    hilarious and true!
    I might be guilty of a few 🙂

    1. Tristan says:

      I know I’ve done the blind pivot a few times. 🙂

  2. Kevin Carroll says:

    Way to keep it real Tristan!

    1. Tristan says:

      Thanks Kevin. It was a good excuse to work on my stick figures.

  3. Giles Farrow says:

    Good stuff. I wonder how many blind pivots, never saw the light of day at all

    1. Tristan says:

      lol…by definition, none I think. 😉

  4. Brian says:

    Great post – I lIke how you flipped the idea. I’m sure more types will reveal themselves as time goes on. Of course some will be more the case than others.

    1. Tristan says:

      If you think of another good one, please let me know and I’ll add it!

  5. Pingback: Software Marketing Tweetables - 14 November 2011 | Smart Software Marketing

  6. Pingback: Pivoting on Investor Feedback a.k.a Beware of Mentors |

  7. Pingback: The Taxonomy of the Lean Startup Pivot |

  8. Pingback: Hope is the Enemy - Startup Advice from a Monk |

  9. Pingback: The Entrepreneur’s Dilemma: Perseverance or Pivot?

  10. Pingback: Stop producing shit | Marius Andra's blog

  11. Pingback: EGG Idea » Startup ร้อยละ 75 เจ๊งแม้จะได้ทุน

  12. Magne Gåsland says:

    You forgot this one:

    The Passion Pivot – changing the business because you hit a roadbump, went through a lot of painfully unrewarding work, and got demotivated.

  13. Magne Gåsland says:

    And this one:

    The Framework Pivot –
    Changing direction because you got convinced by this new book / blog (or whatever) about yet another tool / framework / methodology that explicitly or implicitly yields the promise that following it will lead you to more successfully building a startup. This can also be named: The Desperately-clutching-on-to-something-that-can-tell-you-the-way Pivot.

    What will take me to success?
    – A ‘Business Plan’
    – A ‘Business Model Canvas’
    – A ‘Lean Canvas’?
    – A ‘Value Proposition Canvas’
    – A ‘Customer Factory Blueprint’
    – A ‘Customer Development’ process, as outlined by “The Four Steps to the Epiphany: Succesful Strategies for Products that Win”.
    – ‘The Startup Owner’s Manual: The Step-By-Step Guide for Building a Great Company’
    – ‘The Ultimate Blueprint For An Insanely Successful Business’ (sic)
    or maybe…
    – The ‘Lean Business Developer’ method with it’s ‘Lean Business Planner’ [1]

    Less frameworks and models please! Derek Sivers’ lesson is well applied here: “Everyone is full of crap, nobody knows.” [2] Everyone is just trying to understand it intellectually from one angle or the other, and they’re all still learning about it, just as you! No one has the answer, and particularly not for Your Specific Case. Still, everyone is so full of advice and more or less helpful frameworks. You will lose yourself in the jungle, while consuming more and more “knowledge about” how to do a startup well. You can spend a trillion years just understanding and using different frameworks, which are actually just a bunch of different people’s own preferred ways of conceptualizing the same thing. So: Just ask the right questions, talk to customers, observe their behavior, and trust your own intellect and gut FFS!

    [1] –
    [2] –

    *rant finished* 🙂

    1. Tristan says:

      More like a pitch pivot! Reframing your current business model in the latest business jargon.

Got something to say?

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.