February 2018
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Throwing Good Money After Bad

When do you pull the plug? Part 2


Knowing when to walk away is important, and often I walk away long after it is wise to go. It took the abrupt realization that my startup had run out of money to realize that the time had come. We needed to put more money in to keep it going – and I decided that throwing good money after bad was silly. Running out of cash convinced me, but other triggers are just as valid.

John and Yoko


An idea can start with one person, but turning that idea into something worth something takes a team. Most teams do not survive in their original form for long. John Lennon wasn’t the first musician who ever left a band – or the last. You have to agree on the important stuff and want the same things. If it’s you against the team, all the time or most of the time, it may be time to leave.

Mickey is running


Life is short. Time is precious. The hands on the Mickey Mouse watch don’t stop, just because you’re not having fun. Do you enjoy what you do? If not, why are you still doing it? Do you really need the money?

Looking back at my failed startup, I marvel at how I ended up where I did. It takes an effort to understand that the “me” that was stuck there actually believed that there were no other options. It is as absurd now as it was then, but back then I believed it. I believed that I had to keep at it and work until it succeeded.

Step away from the coalface


Perspective is hard to maintain, so get help.  Find a couple of people you trust, who you can talk to occasionally in order to balance reality with perception. The buzz, the urgency, and the pressure all combine to make it almost impossible to compare apples with apples, as opposed to pears.

If nothing else, write some goals and limits down on paper and review them occasionally. Step back from time to time and ask yourself whether you’ve crossed lines you swore you would not cross – and whether forward is the smart direction to go.

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