ProductSavvy (PSC) is a product acceleration company that supports technology startups as they develop market leading products. PSC is typically engaged once a startup has taken in its first outside funding and turns its focus on building and launching its first product. With these startups once engaged, we work with their leadership on key product strategy, product management and product development challenges. Alternatively, we also get introduced to startups a little further along in their journey. In such cases, firms typically have raised larger amounts of institutional money and already have a product in the market. The challenges in this scenario are usually different and focus on aspects of their go-to- market strategy, growth and scalability. It is not uncommon in these cases to find ourselves working with a company facing multiple challenges, many of which can be traced back to early product/technology decisions made by the company.
The ‘Art of the Pivot’ is a part what startup legends are about. Instagram began as Burbn, a check-in app that included gaming elements, and Twitter was once a service called Odeo, helping people find and subscribe to podcasts. While these grand pivots make for great stories, the practicalities of ‘pivoting’ are often overlooked. Putting aside the fact that you will have likely burned a large amount of somebody else's money prior to the change in strategy, such pivots in tech companies typically require either retooling existing software or simply writing off large amounts of code and starting again.
While people refer to constantly pivoting as they progress their business, what they mean is a gentler iteration process since full scale pivots can be traumatic and expensive for all involved. The team, investors and existing customers will likely need reassurance that whatever is coming next will work and that second time around the level of market understanding and/or operational delivery will succeed. Given this is the reality of life in many startups PSC has supported many through such a change and helped minimize the pain and maximize the changes of product and company success. While truisms like ‘whatever doesn't kill you makes you stronger’ are great to quote after the fact, being able to navigate a pivot and make the right business, technology and product choices second time around are typically critical as it's unlikely that there will be another chance.