When I was a kid, the only people who pivoted were 6- and 7-footers. They wore colorful jerseys with logos that had numbers on them. That's no longer the case. Today, there are far more people pivoting in business than on basketball courts. This is thanks to wide adoption of this term in the tech start-up world, via Eric Ries’ Lean Startups.
Pivot is the newest euphemism for, “Oh, shit! My startup’s not gonna make money!”
The pivot is a crucial concept for entrepreneurs to understand. New businesses rarely succeed by forcing ideas into a given marketplace or landscape. This approach puts the onus on the entrepreneur: i.e. if your idea doesn't catch on, you have a problem -- not the marketplace.
AZ Disruptors is pivoting.
I have come to believe that the landscape in Arizona will not currently support an incubator and an early-stage investment accelerator like AZ Disruptors. Now don’t get me wrong. The enthusiasm is certainly present. The talent exists. There’s even some money. There are other great resources. And we still want to invest in early-stage startups.
Then, what’s the problem?
First of all, if you’d like to place your finger on the pulse of the Arizona tech scene, there is currently nowhere to turn. There is no convenient resource that provides you with:
- a list and profile of current tech companies
- news about these companies and other tech news that affects the valley
- a schedule of tech-related events in the valley
Let’s face it, the TechCrunch’s and the Mashables of the world don’t cover Phoenix tech. I’m not sure I remember the last story on a major tech blog, covering a Phoenix tech company.
Not only does the Arizona tech scene get very little national coverage, it also gets very little local coverage. Even on AZCentral.com, the website of the Arizona Republic, there is no tech section. Interestingly, there is a Pets section, so you'd have a better chance getting coverage if you are a dog than if you are a software company in Arizona.
We can also hypothesize about a lot of other problems we may have in the valley that spell trouble for a startup like AZDisruptors. Among them: the lack of later stage funding sources and a strange sense that there is no tech community.
But what if these other problems are derivatives of the first problem? That there is no tech news scene. There is no TechCrunch for Arizona.
The time has come, and we want to help fill this void. That’s why we’re starting AZ Tech Beat, the valley’s forthcoming Arizona tech news blog.
We are focusing our efforts on helping to improve the current landscape, nudging it in a direction that will be a more nourishing environment for projects like tech incubators and startups to succeed. This is a lot tougher than complaining about the current tech vibe, a lack of community, a lack of funding, or a lack of whatever, throwing our hands up in the air and calling it quits. Rather, we’re committed to the Arizona tech scene, and we're going to do what we can to bring some attention to tech in the Valley of the Sun.
We have amazing success stories all around us, and I’m not just talking about the billion dollar stories, like GoDaddy and JDA Software.
Have you heard of Dapper Gentlemen, Bulbstorm or CX.com? One is growing at a rate of 30,000 subscribers per week; another has displaced Angry Birds from atop the iPhone App Store. If you haven't heard of these companies, you should have.
Or how about Fetchback -- did you know that it was funded with a $1 million round in 2008 and was later purchased by GSI Commerce in 2010 for $40 Million? GSI Commerce was later purchase by eBay for $2.4 billion in 2011. Fetchback is still running strong with 100 employees and is running as an eBay subsidiary headquartered in downtown Tempe.
It’s borderline insane that no one is covering these businesses seriously. All of these companies are our neighbors, right here in Arizona.
These companies (and many, many more) will be profiled, covered, and even scrutinized when we think it's appropriate to do so.
Check out AZ Tech Beat -- your new resource for Arizona tech news, event listings, tech jobs, and more.