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Swag from Headlight’s Mars Mining Tournament (photo credit Zhanna Kurmanova)

In Defense of Hard Pivots: why we sold our hiring platform to launch an esports company

  • Slack and Discord both started as games before hard pivoting into massive group chat platforms.
  • The group dinner series Grubmwithus hard pivoted into a massive sneaker ecommerce platform.
  • Double Labs, went through multiple hard pivots, from video ad tech to on-demand laundry service to disappearing text messages before their Android lock screen launcher got millions of users and lead to their Microsoft acquisition.
Our first office inside of Greatist (photo credit Derek Flanzraich)

1. Remember why you got into business

A panel we hosted for leveling up engineering careers (photo credit Zhanna Kurmanova)

2. Know when it’s not working

Some of the slides from our “Future of Headlight” presentation

3. Run a process

He said to me, “if you’re thinking about doing a Hail Mary, now would be the time.”

Research notes from our deep dive into esports

4. Validate and recommit

5. Sunset or sell the existing business

But Woven did. And they seemed like good people. So I reconnected with the CEO with an offer — would Woven want to acquire Headlight?



We are a performance hiring platform that helps employers screen candidates for ability, not resume. Through assessments, technology, and community, we're building a world where talent can shine. https://www.headlightlabs.com

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Jason Shen

Rediscover your spark and come back stronger | Executive coach • PM for public groups on FB • the resilience guy • 3x startup founder • Stanford gymnast 🏆