This afternoon I’ve immersed myself in the subject of business pivots thanks to Quora.
Paypal and Google realised success as a result of pivoting the business in their early stages while originally Flickr started as a multi-player online game called Neverending. After an engineer built a photo sharing component for the game’s chat rooms the original concept was abandoned and they quickly became the 2nd most popular photosharing site in the world. So before diving into a list of some of the BEST business pivots in history here’s a quick definition:
A business pivot is the act of “changing direction” or “changing your business model”. In a startup context it requires significant change that is impactful and happens quickly (i.e. changes to product features, marketing strategy, revenue models or anything else with significance in a business). If the change happens slowly, then it is not a pivot.
A BEST pivot can be described as the “best example of recognising an exceptional market opportunity which required abandoning the original opportunity”
Here’s a list of some of the best pivots in history
- Berkshire Hathaway: Textiles –> Private equity
- BMW: Aircraft engines –> Vehicles
- Chegg: College classifieds –> Textbook Rentals
- EMC: Furniture –> Enterprise Data Storage
- Flickr: MMORPG –> Web photo sharing
- Google: Enterprise search –> Web search (actually Enterprise search –> Advertising)
- IBM: Punched card equipment ? Computers –> IT Consulting
- Mannesmann: Steel pipes –> Cellular network carrier
- Nintendo: Playing cards –> Video games
- Paypal: PDA payments –> Email/web payments
- Philips: Light bulbs –> Various electronics
- Pixar: Animation tools –> Animated movies
- Sony: Rice cookers –> Various electronics
- Suzuki: Looms –> Vehicles
- WPP Group: Wire shopping baskets –> Communications services
And Nokia once made rubber boots before getting into telecommunications and mobile.
Most information sourced from the precious Quora.
- Sam Batsas
Sam Batsas is the Digital Marketing Manager of Beacon New Ventures, a new model marketing & venture capital partner currently expanding its footprint in the Asia Pacific region. With an office based in Singapore and another in Melbourne Australia, the business has a broad client portfolio both local and abroad across various categories.