Google‘s Schmidt talked about ‘morphing’ a project, but watching this Marissa Mayer video today, as she describes her boss’s suggestion three years before Ries’s, although the idea and the approach are different, the outcomes feel uncannily similar

When Marissa asked “what are we going to do about some of these projects that don’t seem to be showing the growth trends they should be showing?” Eric Schmidt replied “don’t kill projects, morph them”.

In a June 2009 blog post (the video above, was of Marissa‘s talk at Stanford, which was in May 2006) the Lean Startup movement founder Eric Ries said:

“I want to introduce the concept of the pivot, the idea that successful startups change directions but stay grounded in what they’ve learned”

Here’s the first video I can find where Eric Ries uses the term ‘pivot’. It’s in a session called “Lean Startups: Doing More with Less” at the O’Reilly Gov 2.0 Summit in September 2009:

In his book, The Lean Startup, Eric Ries explains that the ideas behind his methodology originated from a particular set of experiences with IMVU (which began in 2004) but it looks like it was another five years before he was ready to tell the world.

Still not convinced? (because of the many differences between the morphing and pivot rationales)

Well, if you watch the clip below from a different segment of Marissa’s 2006 talk, you’ll notice how she’s enthusing in an incredibly ‘Lean Startup-prescient’ way about ultra-fast iteration based upon user feedback.