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I found the use of the verb pivot in a context I can't quite understand:

We will now pivot the company's effort to date and focus on becoming a comprehensive provider of ...

What is the meaning of the verb pivot in this context?

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Bear in mind that the phrase here is actually "pivot ... and focus on ...", not "pivot to ...". The phrase "to date" in this sentence means "until this moment," and is attached to "the company's effort." –  StriplingWarrior Jul 17 '12 at 18:19
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4 Answers

up vote 2 down vote accepted

One specific connotation of the term "pivot" in this sense is that it is not just a "change of direction", but a "sudden, rapid change of direction and focus". Generally it implies that the company is essentially abandoning its previous efforts in order to make a concerted effort towards a new goal. Lessons may be learned from the old project, and parts may be salvaged and repurposed; but the original plan has been cast aside and everyone is working toward a new end.

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I think this goes in line with what the article later mentions: that the company that was acquired was used for their new expertise. –  130490868091234 Jul 18 '12 at 8:10
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Steve Blank stated that Eric Ries chose the term "pivot" for the phase of a startup company that decides to change their goal:

I want to introduce the concept of the pivot, the idea that successful startups change directions but stay grounded in what they've learned. They keep one foot in the past and place one foot in a new possible future.

Source: Eric Ries' original post about the pivot

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+1. I like that this emphasizes that pivoting is not just changing directions: it specifically implies that one foot stays stationary. In basketball, someone cannot move across the court without dribbling, but they can pivot all they like. –  StriplingWarrior Jul 17 '12 at 18:15
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To pivot means to turn. So the company in your example will now turn all its previous efforts, and work toward something else.

This doesn't mean that the previous efforts were wasted or even misdirected—it simply means that the company has decided that a change in direction would be more fruitful than staying on the same course.

Imagine a path with a bend in it. When you get to the corner, you pivot in order to keep walking on the path. If you stayed on the same course, you would get nowhere. Note that the walking you did before you pivoted was just as important as the walking afterward.

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I'd say turn rather than turn around, the latter being more indicative of about-face than is either turn or pivot. –  jwpat7 Jul 17 '12 at 17:44
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The word pivot here is being used in the sense of (appreciable) "turn" albeit gently :) A fine example of corporate-speak, the sentence can be interpreted as the following:

We (I) screwed up. But we are going to try to scavenge something from this mess by focussing on this other related thing.

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It doesn't have to be a "screwup" per se; it can simply be that a company thought they'd be able to make a business out of fixing problem A; they talked to enough customers to realize no one would pay enough to solve A, but they got enough requests to fix problem B that they "pivot" to work on B instead. –  Adam V Jul 17 '12 at 15:45
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