Persevere, Pivot, or Perish?

This summer, I am participating in a start-up accelerator program, because of my interest in entrepreneurship. I am a member of a nonprofit startup that is creating an after-school boarding program for underserved high school girls in urban environments. Check out our website here.

For the first week of the program, we were taken through an entrepreneurship “bootcamp”. So for three days straight, we pored over and discussed case studies from Harvard Business School (#MBA in 3 days), listened to guest speakers talk about their entrepreneurial journeys, and analyzed the different startups that are participating in the program.

I am going to try my hardest to note down the various lessons that I will learn over the course of the program (if the work doesn’t kill me of course).

First lesson: Persevere, pivot or perish

When developing a start-up, it is often advisable to take the lean approach whereby one uses the least resources to start a business, but continuously tests one’s market and/or technology using MVPs (minimum viable products). The key thing about MVPs though is that one needs to learn how to fail fast.

Failing fast involves testing out a product (or a part of a product), analyzing how customers respond to this test, and then making the decision to persevere along the same line of production, pivot by altering a part of the test (while maintaining the core of the product or service), or perish the idea all together.

Learning about this process has helped me realize that I can apply the same concepts to my journey in life. When I start a venture or embark on a new adventure, do I persevere in it, pivot or perish?

Take this blog for example. I started it at the end of December 2016, and I was quite consistent till January 2016. Then afterwards, school got the best of me and I was only able to post spottily. So when summer began, I realized that I needed to re-evaluate things. Do I let the blog perish and forget about it altogether? Not a chance. Despite my faulty record, I enjoy blogging and pouring out my thoughts.

Do I persevere with my initial goals for the blog? Ehnnn…. perhaps not. Sometimes it’s too difficult to post only about entrepreneurial-related topics, especially because during the year, I barely have time to consider entrepreneurship.

Well then, it seems that my only option is to pivot. I am still going to try and post about how I make moves in my everyday life. But I also want to post about my walk with God, a peculiar experience, or about the occasional rants that spurt out of me concerning society. Could this make my blog more confusing and push me towards rambling? Possibly. But I’ll test out the MVP and wait to see what happens. Wish me luck!

Cheers!

–  M.

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