I was talking with a founder today who recently pivoted his company.

The ups and downs of the conversation brought back so many memories of my own startup days.

Today's tweet storm is about the "human aspects" of pivoting a startup.

Read on >>
1) For ppl who have never been through a pivot, it's pretty brutal. A lot of ppl nonchalantly talk about a pivot like it's NBD. But it's a HUGE deal.

Specifically, changing a biz direction is sorta challenging but dealing w PEOPLE is the REALLY hard part!
2) Let's define what a pivot is.

It's when you change your biz direction in some way. It could be a change in target customer. A change in core product / service offering. Or many things at once.
3) Pivots are hard, because, if you're the CEO, you've been thinking for weeks about all the changes you want to make to your biz. But you've probably kept that to yourself until you've gotten clarity on what you want to do.

So when you tell your team, it's shocking to them.
4) What makes a pivot hard is the whiplash that you create with everyone around you.

But it's not shocking to you as the CEO, because you've had a chance to digest all info and options for a while now.
5) But let's take this a step further. You're not just suggesting going in a new direction with a pivot.

You're also saying you want to throw out most / all of the work your team has been doing. Think about it -- you are going to abandon all their efforts to do something new.
6) That is demoralizing to hear! Right?

This is where it's really important to acknowledge your team's work. They have done a FANTASTIC JOB.

And it is from their work, you were able to learn of a better direction to go in. This is tough to swallow.
7) It's also impt to remind your team - as you're searching for product-market fit - that your goal is to validate hypotheses at this stage. If you're unable to do that, you need to create new hypotheses & learn about those.

As such, there may be a lot of shifts in direction.
8) Morale is one of the toughest things to keep up in a startup if you haven't found PMfit.

Ppl can easily get lost in meandering directions. And their work is being thrown out constantly!
9) In fact, the flip side is if you have PMfit, ppl can weather just about anything -- bad management, poor culture, lack of salary, etc.

When you have PMfit, ppl know they're on a rocket & are excited by building something big & impactful.
10) Lots of ppl think that startups die because of lack of $$. That's just not true. They die because of lack of morale.

Think about it - when you're first starting, you have no $$. But morale is highest then because you have so many hopes that haven't been shattered yet.
11) So it's impt to keep your team's morale up high.

You also often won't know how low morale is, because ppl don't often tell the boss. It's easier for them to just leave the company.

So when you're going through a pivot, be particularly attune to your teammates.
12) It's also really impt to understand not only how your employees are feeling but also how their families and significant others are too.

They need to be just as supportive of your co, because ultimately, they will be the ones advocating at home either for or against your co.
13) Take those ppl out to dinner. Sell them on your vision.

Make sure they're happy too. Address their concerns directly. It can be too easy for family members or SOs to get the wrong opinion about your company when hearing about it second or third hand.
14) Pivots are HARD! If you're going through a pivot, I'd bet 95% of the time, you'll have a morale issue to go w it.

Get in front of it. Be attuned to your ppl & their families. Be appreciative & sing their praises. Send a small gift. Take them to dinner.

You'll pull through.

• • •

Missing some Tweet in this thread? You can try to force a refresh

Keep Current with Elizabeth Yin

Elizabeth Yin Profile picture

Stay in touch and get notified when new unrolls are available from this author!

Read all threads

This Thread may be Removed Anytime!


Twitter may remove this content at anytime! Save it as PDF for later use!

Try unrolling a thread yourself!

how to unroll video
  1. Follow @ThreadReaderApp to mention us!

  2. From a Twitter thread mention us with a keyword "unroll"
@threadreaderapp unroll

Practice here first or read more on our help page!

More from @dunkhippo33

14 Sep
As someone who interned at a startup in HS in the summer of '00 & started building her own startup in '08, frothy times make me very nervous.

Everyone looks like a genius during the best times, but here are some sobering thoughts.

Read on >>
1) This is fascinating - the top quartile of VCs in 2007 had a 2.54x paper multiple. But the actual paid (IN CASH) is only 2.38x -- 14 years later!

Actual cash != paper markups.

2) Another data point. About 6-7 years ago, my friend was telling me about how he had passed on investing in some fund. He had seen that that fund didn't have a great multiple 3 years in.

Today, that fund is a 5x fund, 2x+ realized.
Read 13 tweets
10 Sep
When I was a founder I was completely clueless about fundraising and what investors would ask me. And also why they were asking certain questions.

I don't think founders should ever be blindsided by the process.

A thread -- read on >>
1) @hustlefundvc, we've put together a page on what you can expect from us and our process.

2) I've also put together a doc of questions I think investors will ask you just in general:


We've highlighted the ones that we tend to ask in blue.
Read 16 tweets
9 Sep
Researching startup investors is still one of the most time-consuming activities founders end up doing just to raise a round.

Here are a few lists of investors I often send entrepreneurs to that can help with this process. (Not in any particular order)

Read on >>
1) Saba Karim's list of investors (@sabakarimm). Check out other resources on his blog as well.

2) NFX Signal (@NFX). Their list categorizes the deals that individuals and firms have done previously.

Read 10 tweets
8 Sep
It's been a while since I've done a tweet storm. I was trying to be more heads-down the last 2 months thinking & reflecting.

Some building-in-public thoughts on growing and running @HustleFundVC >>
1) We recently had a company offsite where we had the chance to reflect on how we're doing in all aspects: financially, team morale, and with our mission.
2) Our mission at @HustleFundVC is to further the 3 things needed to grow successful startups: capital, knowledge, and networks.
Read 9 tweets
23 Jul
Which is more important for a startup? Product or distribution?

I think everyone would argue both 🤣 but if you had to pick one, what would you pick and why?

A thread >>
1) This is sparked by @justinkan 's tweet today where he did a 180 change on a tweet he made a couple years ago:

Read 16 tweets
22 Jul
Today's tweet thread is on the *real* secrets to content marketing that took me years to learn...

Read on >>
1) When I was starting my entrepreneurial journey, I had heard from other ppl that I should blog. Or that I should push content on social media. Or that I should do videos.

It was incredibly overwhelming advice. So many channels to try!

I also didn't know what I should post.
2) And then I would spend all this time creating a piece of content. And then push something out.

And then crickets. The content would fall flat.
Read 17 tweets

Did Thread Reader help you today?

Support us! We are indie developers!

This site is made by just two indie developers on a laptop doing marketing, support and development! Read more about the story.

Become a Premium Member ($3/month or $30/year) and get exclusive features!

Become Premium

Too expensive? Make a small donation by buying us coffee ($5) or help with server cost ($10)

Donate via Paypal Become our Patreon

Thank you for your support!

Follow Us on Twitter!