Tuesday, September 27, 2011

LiveOn - Smart Founders Pivot Fast, Early and "Get It!"

I had lunch today with Jonathan Whistman, Founder of LiveOn and serial entrepreneur. Not only is Jonathan a very smart guy and a nice guy, but HE GETS IT.

Getting it as an entrepreneur is an elusive quality and hard to define. But you know it when you see it.
In this case, Jonathan's background of multiple business successes (and some ventures that did not go exactly as planned) have created a certain DNA that breeds startup success. He has learned the art of the pivot.

For the uninitiated, the pivot is the point in every startup company's lifecycle, where you take a step back and fix what is wrong. Or what is not working. Or what isn't right enough. It's rarely about being perfect, but it's always about making your company better. Occasionally it may mean pulling the plug too.

LiveOn, which launches in October, is going to do great. I certainly don't want to let the cat of of the proverbial bag, but go check out the site yourself and you will understand. But with just 30 days out, you might wonder why pivot one last time before launch?

Jonathan took a step back during the private beta launch group, listened to key voices and decided to fine tune a few last elements. It is this disciplined mentality that will serve LiveOn well, and should play an ongoing role in the success after they launch. They make ongoing adjustments based on what they see and hear, and then what they believe. Ultimately, smart capital providers invest in entrepreneurs who adjust to market conditions, but still rely on their plan and execution to get it done consistent with the vision of being profitable.

The pivot is usually an event that occurs more than a few times in most successful startup's life. The ones that fail to pivot are usually the ones that end up in a trash can down the road. Listening to your audience but keeping an eye on your vision is the balancing act good entrepreneurs maintain.

LiveOn, and the entire crew, get it. Soon hopefully you will see what they have achieved. Watch these guys, they will do big things - and probably have a few more pivots in their bag too.

Written by Herb Sih, Managing Partner of Think Big Partners.

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