Pivoting on Investor Feedback a.k.a Beware of Startup Mentor

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startup mentorLet me explain.

Investors, startup mentor, advisors, and other experts are great to talk to. They’ll offer valuable insight on market sizes, suggest great customer acquisition strategies, and sometimes offer you wads of cash to continue with your business.

But when I hear someone say,

Based on feedback from our investors we’ve pivoted our idea.

…I can’t help but cringe. (Update: This behavior has now been dubbed The Assisted Blind Pivot)

I’ve said it again and again… Beware of the startup mentor

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If you’re prepared to unconditionally and without investigation accept someone else’s opinion of what your customers want, there are only two possibilities:

  1. You’re not doing enough customer development.
  2. You are some form of invertebrate. Perhaps a mollusk. (Ok…I can’t think of a really clever way of saying you’re spineless.)

Similarly, if someone, including me, tells you something isn’t a great idea and there’s no market for it there are only two acceptable responses. Either:

That’s interesting. I’m going to take that thought out into the field and validate it with my customers.
OR…
You’re wrong. I’ve spoken to dozens of customers, I have a validated customer persona, built an MVP to test key behavioral hypotheses, and the data doesn’t back what you’re saying.

Even if it’s someone you respect and they’ve tried a similar business model before, you’re doing yourself a disservice by not doing the customer development yourself. It doesn’t take a lot of effort to go out and talk to five people, and you’ll only get better by engaging in the process.

Don't outsource your decision making. Click To Tweet

Cheers,
Tristan