The terms “Flogging a dead horse” and “Success is only just around the corner” spring to mind when talking about this concept, articulated by Eric Ries in his New York bestseller “The Lean Startup”.
In your business as well as your everyday life, how do you know when to “give up”? Or, if you do change direction or quit, were you JUST about to make that breakthrough or success you worked so hard for? What if you are achieving moderate success and therefore if you quit it would prove embarrassing or would lose you the moderate income you are used to. What if, on the surface, you are highly successful, but actually you are unhappy, stressed and working 60 hours per week just to keep the ‘success’ going.
When do you Pivot? And when do you Persevere?
What does it mean to pivot? To pivot is to change direction, drop something that isn’t working, and take one area or your whole business in a different direction. Most of the time you would take some of the past version with you. Sometimes you lose the past version altogether.
A great example is a tech company started by Dan Carroll, a well-known name in silicon valley, in 2007. In it’s original form it was called “kaChing” and was a online “fantasy league” for amateur investors, designed to spot good investors. They built a sophisticated system, but customers found the concept confusing and didn’t buy in. The team decided they couldn’t persevere as it existed and decided to celebrate what had been achieved up to this date, but make a pivot. They abandoned the gaming concept and instead focused on creating a platform for amateur investors. On the surface, the pivot seemed quite dramatic, a new company name, new branding and discarding a lot of the system that they had built, but underneath a surprising amount stayed the same. What worked in the system became the core that everything new was built around. The company (now called Wealthfront) is now a leader in the field.
If the team hadn’t had started in the first place they would never have had the knowledge and core system that they then built upon.
Another example in The Lean Startup is the online Voters platform Votizen. It took 4 huge pivots to drag it to the success that founder and CEO David Binetti had visioned, each pivot building on the previous versions successes.
The interesting fact is that, every time he decided to pivot, it took less time than his last pivot. Of the 4 major pivots, the first took 12 months, the second six months, the third took four months and the last pivot took only a month to put into place.
This can be attributed to 2 things. Firstly, the structure and business allowed for a pivot and adapted easier each time. Each change built upon the things that were great about the business and discarded the things that didn’t work. With each pivot there was less to discard and more opportunity to build on what worked.
The second observation is that, the decisions became easier to make, as the decision to pivot had been made previously. The team even brought the ‘pivot or persevere’ concept into their strategic meetings, something that Eric Reis recommends that every business do.
The dictionary’s definition of perseverance is “doing something despite difficulty or delay in achieving success”.
A client of mine regularly pivots in her business and on reflection feels that she may have recently made too many. She feels compelled to pivot as she is haunted by the alternative of persevering.
Her dad had a 30-year career working for the same company, with the promise of becoming the first person ever to go from being the apprentice to a director in the 100 year history of the company. After years of blood sweat and tears his final promotion was due. He prepared to become director and enjoy has last years with the company before retiring. The board of directors then decided to promote the boss’s son instead. His hopes, as well as his pride was completely crushed and my client is haunted by the memory of the only time she’d ever seen him break down in tears.
Years of persevering did not bring him to where he wanted to be and the worst thing was that he had no control over the future he’d planned for himself.
What happened to him didn’t have to force him to make a pivot in his life; he could have continued to work for that company. Maybe he might have eventually got the directors role that he was promised. But the pivot he made took his life in a better direction than he could ever have imagined.
An entrepreneur approached him to work as partners. With his engineering background and keen project management skills they start a competing firm. I’m sure you will agree that someone that has been an employee for 30 years starting a business of his own is completely daunting, but he partnered up with the right person. He pivoted at completely the right time, not through choice but nevertheless formed part of the team that, after a couple of pivots of their own, built a company that now turns over in excess of £2million per year. He now has the directorship that he wanted and even better, is working hard for his own company, not someone else’s.
The unplanned pivot was the best thing that could have happened to him. How did this happen? Because his new partner heard that he hadn’t got a promotion and saw it as a perfect time to approach him. This is a perfect example of taking what is good from the previous version and leaving behind what didn’t work, which in his case was the company itself!
How does this translate into our personal success? I’d like you to take these 2 steps, in your personal or business life if you like. Take 10 minutes to think about your answers, write them down and build your findings into your plan for success. Just by being aware, will set your subconscious mind the task of resolving any issues holding you back.
1. Are you a pivot-er or a persevere-er?
Take a moment to think about some pivots and perseverance’s that have led you closer to success, or away from success. Think about how you could have changes your thinking to get a better outcome.
[A classic perseverance is staying in a marriage for too long, out of fear that you will be more unhappy out of it that you are miserable in it!]
I’d like you to think about your life or business, what’s holding you back from that next step of success. What is stopping you? Is it your thinking? What’s the ‘barrier’? Did something spring into your mind while reading this article? That’s probably what your unconscious mind needs to be analysed further.
2. Write down 2 things that are holding you back you right now and then ask yourself the question – Pivot or Persevere?
What we can take from this silicon valley concept:
1. If we want to do something, we need to make a start. Imperfect action will teach you more than no action ever will.
2. It’s not a failure if we have strategically decided to pivot! Start making the changes needed and each time it will be less painful and achieve more in less time.
3. Its ok to pivot and its equally ok to persevere, we just need to know our reasons for doing so.
As of today (1st October 2014), the paper vehicle tax disc no longer needs to be displayed on your vehicle. If you have a paper disc with months left, you can remove it from your car’s front screen, and destroy it. However, this doesn’t mean that you don’t still have that tax on your car, and that you won’t need to keep taxing it.
Rather, instead of needing to display a physical tax disc, and needing to send away for your disc, everything is now officially online and digital. As with most modern things, the physical has been replaced with new digital technology.
You have been able to apply online for your new tax, as well as many other vehicle related commodities, for a while now. Although, what you didn’t know, is that the DVLA have been testing out a way for police and road monitors to know whether your car is taxed without having to check the disc, for a while also, and it’s finally in place.
Another way that digital technology has improved the way you can tax your vehicle is that they also now allow you to pay for your tax through a direct debit. This means that you won’t even have to think about renewing your tax, as you can set up a system where it just renews automatically.
The new vehicle tax changes are just another example of how digital technology continues to make improvements, and changes in our lives. Digital technology has been constantly expanding over the years, and has therefore made way for many digital replacements for physical things.
We have compiled a list of the most considerable changes, to show how digital technology has replaced many physical commodities that are no longer around or even necessary. And, for some of these replacements, it does seem a little sad!
1 – Vinyl Records / Cassette Tapes / CDs
The way we listen to music has changed so rapidly, in what is actually only a short length of time. Nowadays, basically every physical way has been replaced by digital formats. Almost all music is digitally acquired in MP3 formats, and people simply keep their music stored mainly on their laptops and/or phones.
Our phones have improved so much to allow for more space, meaning people are using their phones to store and listen to their music on the go. We will even go so far to say that MP3 players or iPods will soon be made pretty obsolete, just like basically every other physical music player has.
2 – Phoneboxes
Phoneboxes are definitely a thing of the past. Whereas they used to be on every street corner, and one of the main ways of direct speaking contact, they are difficult to be found recently. One of the main places you find phoneboxes nowadays, in the whole of the UK, is in London, and this is mainly for novelty purposes with their iconic, bright red design.
However, even trying to recall where to find your nearest phonebox is difficult – think about it, when was the last time you ever needed it? With most people owning phones, and mobiles being so easily available at very cheap prices, it is uncommon for someone to be in a situation to require a phonebox now.
3 – Chalkboards and Overhead Projectors
There are so many things that we all remember from our schools growing up, that are now almost entirely obsolete. The main two are undoubtedly chalkboards and overhead projectors. Chalkboards started being replaced first, making way for the whiteboards and marker pens. Then, overhead projectors soon followed, with most whiteboards being replaced by smart boards, and boards where you can easily connect up a laptop and show your PowerPoint presentation instead.
Then, we all went to university, and could even skip attending physical lectures for watching online, interactive, lectures instead. Whoa.
4 – Maps
Remember the time when you needed to keep the A-Z Great Britain Road Map in your car at all times? And, for road trips, the front seat passenger had the great map responsibility to at least know which way round to hold the map? Though ever since the first car GPS system came along, traditional maps and road maps have become a thing of the past.
Technology has only improved since then – and now you can get your TomTom with a USB connection to your computer, allowing you to recharge and update the maps on your GPS constantly. Also, a few (expensive) cars can now even come with the GPS already inputted. Not to mention the fact that you can simply use your Google Maps phone App to find your way around, however you’re travelling.
5 – Analogue Terrestrial TV
Previously, every TV worked on an analogue transmission. This simply meant that you didn’t need a digital transmission or connection in order to watch TV. Then everything went digital, and with most people using Sky or Freeview already, they switched off analogue transmission. The digital switchover actually started in some parts of the UK in 2007, and ended in October 2012, after switching analogue off for the entire country. Nowadays, new TVs all come with a way of watching the main channels through digital transmission, and there have even been wide improvements for digital TV viewing and functions.
6 – VHS / DVDs / Blu-Rays
Over the years, the way people watch and own films and series have changed just as drastically as with music. Every physical method has been slowly replaced by solely digital formats. It is possible for people to purchase and store films or TV series as digital files on their laptops or even phones.
However, even this has evolved. Many people now own subscriptions to various digital streaming platforms, over owning traditional films or TV series. For example, subscribing to Netflix is a cost-effective way of having many films and series available to watch online, through any Smart TV or through a games console that has online capabilities.
7 – Paper Bills
This is quite similar to the new vehicle tax changes, as there is no denying that receiving physical, paper bills through the post has become a thing of the past. Now, everything is online, and it is possible to send you important documents via your email address.
Also, it is easier than ever to apply for things online, through a digital application system. This is mainly because digital applications and bills save a considerably large amount of money, and reduces the waste of unnecessary paper.
8 – Floppy Disks
Remember floppy disks?! They were the ultimate way to store your important computer files, and transfer them from computer to computer! They weren’t actually that capable as far as space, however, and they weren’t exactly the most durable of items. So maybe it was about time for them to become phased out by external hard drives and USB sticks.
9 – Cameras
We aren’t claiming that all cameras are a thing of the past, although we are firm believers in our iPhone camera quality (except perhaps the front facing one), but certainly cameras with film are sadly no more. Gone are the days of having to travel to Boots to get your camera film processed, and having to wait actual days to see the results. Now, if you own a camera, they are probably digital with a great memory storage capability, amongst other pros.
Also, if you want to see your pictures, you literally can see them straight after you’ve taken the image. Most people don’t even bother printing the images out to make physical copies anymore, and simply use their laptops, phones, online storage systems or social media platforms as a safe storage system.
10 – Phonebooks / Yellow Pages / Encyclopedias
Yes, we’re talking about those great big books that sometimes used to get reluctantly shoved through your mailbox. If you needed to find a business, or someone’s number or address, you had to scroll through a few hefty pages. Also, if you ever needed to know something, it required a search through an encyclopedia, meaning the search was often never truly worth it.
Nowadays, of course, all of those giant books are available in online varieties. Google searches have replaced the phonebook, the Yellow Pages has gone online, and Wikipedia was invented so that you can now find out any (even pointless!) information you want at the easy click of a few buttons.
So, how do you feel about our top 10 most significant digital changes?
Are there any more you can think of that have considerably impacted us?
Reading that list, we can definitely say one thing: the increase and expansion of digital technology and online methods has certainly saved a lot of trees. And chalkboard scratching.
Don’t forget – here at Bright Yellow Creative, we are down with all things digital! Check out how we can impact your business’ online and digital presence through our services here.