How do you know you need to pivot?

Clint Oram / November, 2017


In this Startupedia video, Clint Oram, Co-Founder and CTO of SugarCRM explains pivoting as a creative destruction process and what might indicate that it’s time for such a process.

Video transcript:

How do you know you need to pivot?

One of my core philosophies is that the reason why a company exists is to create customers. It’s not necessary to create a product. So over time, your product will evolve and that’s something that we’ve seen here at SugarCRM, is that our product has evolved a few times over but more as a manifestation of an evolution of our company’s strategy than anything else.

When I think about pivoting, I think of it within the context of creative destruction. Because pivoting means you’re going to walk away from a previous path and embark on a new path. To do that well you’re destroying something that you invested in the past and you’re creating something new. ‘Creative destruction’, I use that term because it really connotes the impact to your business much more than pivot. Pivot sounds like “ooh, I just dance to the left to and then dance to the right, and everything’s good!”. Creative destruction much more represents what it means to your company, and how do you know when to do that. There are some obvious tellers, when the customers aren’t buying, when the customers are leaving, when your employees are saying you’re on the wrong path and it’s probably a little bit too late then.

What I’ve found is, within the history of SugarCRM, and when we’ve gone through our creative destruction process, as a management team we already knew it needed to happen. It was more about getting the intestinal fortitude to go do it. So I think for us the shifts in the marketplace around us as represented by customers buying or not buying made it very obvious when we needed to go through that creative destruction process. I think for a company to know when to do that creative destruction you just need to have your ears open and listen to the people around you because your customers and your employees will tell you.



  • Clint Oram, SugarCRM
  • November, 2017
  • 2:08
  • Startup Basics

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