Being Light on Your Feet

A lot of change has come my way these last few weeks, and the importance of understanding, accepting, and responding to change quickly is more clear than ever.

Sometimes (most times) the best laid plans don't work. Something crazy happens. People react differently than expected. The people who make the most progress seem to be those who can take stock, accept the new reality, draft a new best-path-forward, and pursue it without reservation. Those who quickly reorient and commit.

This reminds me of a biography I read on the fighter pilot / military thinker John Boyd. His philosophy, with dog-fighting and general conflict strategy, was centered on the OODA loop - observe, orient, decide, act. In competition, whoever can move through this loop the fastest, wins. You're constantly adjusting as a new environment emerges.

In Penji's case, we partnered with CU Boulder's ASAP Tutoring in Fall to great success. They served double the students when compared to previous all-time highs. This was paired with headache in scaling our B2C, straight-to-student model. This new information is positive but is throwing everything into disarray. The right move, it seems, is to embrace B2B and begin scaling this SaaS-style model, yet it brings with it new risks and pitfalls, and most importantly a whole new set of skills. It requires a new pro forma, and new long-term strategy, which would eventually marry a B2B-led userbase with B2C-style tutoring.

Despite these difficulties, it is the right move (for now, at least). Our speed to redefine our path and move quickly down it, testing a new set of assumptions, will determine our success inr reaching the next level. Hanging on to old beliefs, on the other hand, will hold us back. We've made that mistake in the past.

Any thoughts? Any risks to this quick-to-change mentality? Please share!



Ben Holmquist

January 17, 2020

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