Quit while you are behind

This is in response to a recent post by OM Malik


Basically it’s that Stick With It advice you hear so often.  I usually agree with most of his insights but this one just rubbed me the wrong way.

FACT => Most startups fail
CONJECTURE => Many go down in flames with debt, unpaid salaries, legal liabilities, broken promises, divorces, friendships ended etc

CONCLUSION => Most startups fail too late.

In my experience startup Entrepeneurs have by definition already got the stick with it gene. They wouldn’t be doing a startup of they didn’t. In fact I would say too many of them have a delusional sense that of they just keep trying to hang on, somehow it will all work out allright.

In fact the best piece of advice I can give is this: When you find yourself with a shovel, deep in a hole, STOP DIGGING.

Practically what this means is that it’s better to retreat when the writing is CLEARLY on the wall, regroup, maybe take a temp job, and come at it again a bit later when you’ve digested what went wrong how your luck worked against you.

So stick with it by all means, but don’t believe the fantasy that if you stick with something that isn’t working, all you need is persaverence.