I-Corps @ NIH – Pivoting the Curriculum

We’ve pivoted our Lean LaunchPad / I-Corps curriculum. We’re changing the order in which we teach the business model canvas and customer development to better-fit therapeutics, diagnostics and medical devices. — Over the last three years the Lean LaunchPad class has started to replace the last century’s “how to write a business plan” classes as […]

Pivot – Firing the Plan Not the People. 2 Minutes to See Why.

If you can’t see the video click here

Do Pivots Matter?

There’s a sign on the wall but she wants to be sure
’ Cause you know sometimes words have two meanings Led Zeppelin – Stairway to Heaven In late 2013 Cowboy Ventures did an analysis of U.S.-based tech companies started in the last 10 years, now valued at $1 billion. They found 39 of these companies.  They […]

Vision versus Hallucination – Founders and Pivots

A founder’s skill is knowing how to recognize new patterns and to pivot on a dime. At times the pattern is noise, and the vision turns out to be a hallucination. Knowing how to sort between vision and  hallucination can avoid chaos inside your startup. ——— Yuri, one of my ex students started a big-data analytics company […]

Panic at the Pivot – Aligning Incentives By Burning the Boats

It’s a paradox, but early sales success in a startup can kill its chances of becoming a large successful company. The cause is often sales and marketing execs who’ve become too comfortable with an initial sales model and panic at the first sign of a Pivot. As a result they block new iterations of the […]

Consultants Don’t Pivot, Founders Do

Consultants can help startups leverage their limited resources.  But startups can shoot themselves in the foot when founders use consultants at the wrong time or in the wrong way.  Here’s why. Your Process Doesn’t Work A friend of mine asked me to chat with a startup he’d invested in.  “They’re deep into Customer Development,” he […]

Why Startups are Agile and Opportunistic – Pivoting the Business Model

Startups are the search to find order in chaos. Steve Blank At a board meeting last week I watched as the young startup CEO delivered bad news. “Our current plan isn’t working. We can’t scale the company. Each sale requires us to handhold the customer and takes way too long to close.  But I think […]

Is the Lean Startup Dead?

A version of this article first appeared in the Harvard Business Review Reading the NY Times article “Jeffrey Katzenberg Raises $1 Billion for Short-Form Video Venture,” I realized it was time for a new startup heuristic: the amount of customer discovery and product-market fit you need to find is inversely proportional to the amount and availability of […]

Brown University Talk

Every year I head to the East coast for vacation. We live in a semi-rural area, just ~10,000 people in town, with a potato farm across the street and an arm of the ocean in the backyard. While they own tech, smartphones and computers, most of my neighbors can’t tell you about the latest trends […]

The Innovation Stack: How to make innovation programs deliver more than coffee cups

Is your organization full of Hackathons, Shark Tanks, Incubators and other innovation programs, but none have changed the trajectory of your company/agency? Over the last few years Pete Newell and I have helped build innovation programs inside large companies, across the U.S. federal science agencies and in the Department of Defense and Intelligence Community. But […]