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 Pad, The Lean Startup, Startup 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:
Just returned after three days in Silicon V and San Fran.Amazing sense of entrepreneurship but few new mind blowing innovations.
— Rupert Murdoch(@rupertmurdoch) August 25, 2012
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?