The Difference Between a Pivot and Reboot

Thomas Grasty is Co-Founder of Stroome ( In this video he talks about the difference between a pivot and reebot.

  • Pivot: slight change of product or business model
  • Reboot: re-imaging of company vision

There’s been a lot of talk, I mean, the real buzz phrase right now in entrepreneurship, to start up community is the pivot, you know, and there-- I think there’s a difference between a pivot and what I will call a reboot. And I would like to sort of talk about the differences between the two maybe providing examples.

First, let’s define the terms. I see a pivot really is a slight change of product or business model. It’s a course correction. You’re moving in one direction, you need to slightly adjust it to another. I mean, let’s look at like what Pandora did. Pandora start off interestingly enough is a [beaded B] business. Then it evolved over time into a music discovery platform. So, consumer, more of the consumers are in the platform and that’s really where they found their traction. Now, they’re one of the top downloads in the iTunes platform.

And the example of a reboot is or the definition of a reboot is the re-imaging of your company’s vision. It’s rather than changing course direction. It’s changing the entire course. There’s another company that’s out there that’s really hot right now. Called Turn Table Fm. Now, Turn Table FM started, the team that’s started Turn Table started a company called Sticky Bits. And Sticky Bits was this bar code system that let you scan things and then let people come behind you and see what it was that you have to assign to that product. Well, that gave them an idea. And the team decided to turn internally and create an entirely new product and an entirely new market, the music market. So, what they created was Turn Table FM which is a music discovery system and recommendation system, built inside the Facebook platform. It was an entirely new way of thinking about a business and creating an entirely new business.

So, whereas, the notion of pivot now has really become sort of all-in compassing meaning, any sort of change. I think it’s really important especially to continue with the tech of knowledge. That if you’re going to go and do a reboot or a rethinking of your entire company, you’ll run a real risk because when a computer goes down, sometimes it doesn’t come back up.