The Agile Startup Week 5: Let’s Party!

Note: The Strategic Agility Institute is following GILD Collective, a startup in the crafting industry, as it goes through a nationally recognized startup accelerator. Check out previous posts to get up to speed on this project. 

I really like data. And I like data even more when they’re used to make decisions—a process I try my best to encourage among the executives whom I consult and students whom I teach. And so that’s why there’s one seemingly small update that GILD Collective made to their homepage that I particularly like. 

It’s the button that says “Let’s Party!” 

During the past week, the GILD Collective team—which has now finished its fifth week as members of the Cincinnati-based startup accelerator The Brandery—tested a variety of different phrases on that button. And despite some other intuitively great options, “Let’s Party!” drew the most attention from site visitors. So go check it out. And if you’re interested in being involved with a crafting party, give it a click.

This is a small example, but I like it because it shows a little bit of the power that can come from letting the data speak, from using valid evidence to make decisions. And doing so in the ambiguity-ridden world of a startup is critical. 

In addition to small website tweaks, of course, GILD Collective is staying busy with a number of other initiatives. Some highlights include:

  • Continuing to book new parties and get local instructors signed up with the team
  • Holding more crafting parties—including their first outside of the Cincinnati area (it was in Columbus, Ohio)—and getting priceless feedback from those events
  • Working with the creative agency Spicefire to hone their brand (see the photos below that depict some of the branding inspiration work)

The team continues to experience a high level of volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity (VUCA), with ratings of each by the team members being relatively similar to last week’s ratings. Complexity—like last week—seems to be somewhat higher than the other three VUCA elements. That’s still not surprising, as the team is continuing to build systems and processes to support their work. Interestingly, they see the pace of change—volatility—as potentially increasing next week.  

Here are the summaries of their ratings of each. 


As in previous weeks, the team is continuing to learn and experiment. 

Although the team didn’t have any major pivots this week, the team is continuing to find the right balance between specialization and generalization for their own roles and responsibilities.

The best organizations and teams tend to deal with this by finding an “agile middle”—a midpoint between everyone doing everything and rigid (fragile) hierarchy. One way to think of this is that the team members should have their own swim lanes, but they should never forget that they’re in the same pool.  

Be sure to check back in next week for another update from GILD Collective as they navigate the VUCA world of startups. 

About GILD Collective
GILD Collective is the brainchild of three friends—Kelsey Pytlik, Rachel Bauer McCreary and Jessie Deye. It’s a business focused on crafting, which happens to be about a $29 billion industry. GILD Collective seeks to join that industry by offering instructor-led craft parties, in which customers will pick the project, location and participants. GILD Collective will bring the supplies and expertise, allowing party participants to explore their creative sides and make something with their own hands. For more information, visit:

About The Strategic Agility Institute™
The Strategic Agility Institute™ (SAI) is a collaborative, global effort dedicated to the production and communication of agility-focused knowledge. We're building a community founded upon a common interest in helping people and organizations become agile and thrive in the face of volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity. For more information, visit: