Pivot Patrol

Harvard Business Review Clutches Its Pearls at Pivot ‘Promiscuity’

Plus some of these ideas are looking like attempts to cash out
 Harvard Business Review Clutches Its Pearls at Pivot Promiscuity

He’s just worried about some of your choices. (pulse2.com)

Is there any startup that doesn’t pivot at least a couple of times these days? The term is everywhere, to the point that, during a recent round of putt-putt golf, we overheard an entrepreneur passing off the many pivots of his e-commerce startup as acceptable first-date small talk.

Well, the Harvard Business Review has discovered the trend, and the venerable publication isn’t so sure it likes what it sees.

The magazine’s September issue takes a look at four recent(ish)ly released business books–The Launch PadThe Lean StartupStartup Weekend and The Ultralight Startup–and came away quite alarmed indeed. The title of its review: “Too Many Pivots, Too Little Passion.”

Tearing up one’s idea halfway through the prestigious Y Combinator program? Simultaneously considering four different concepts? My God, what would Henry Ford say? It’s just all so ephemeral:

None of the Y Combinator or Lean Startup companies seem destined to change the world (or, significantly, employ many people); instead of being “built to last,” these firms seem “built to be acquired by Google.”

Funny, Rupert Murdoch was just saying the same thing:

But the article goes on, waxing even harsher:

The people in these books seem most interested in simply starting a company—any company—and their willingness to hopscotch between wildly different ideas can seem flighty or promiscuous. No less than Mark Zuckerberg expressed this view at a Y Combinator event, chiding the crowd: “You’ve decided you want to start a company, but you don’t know what you’re passionate about yet.”

“Promiscuous”? Pivoters, how does it feel to be slut-shamed by no less a moral authority than the Harvard Business Review?

Follow Kelly Faircloth on Twitter or via RSS. kfaircloth@observer.com