16 thoughts on “Knowing When to ‘Whack It’!”

  1. I think one of the hardest problems for founders is its not clear when to quit. You can limp along for months, maybe years and if you don’t have a VC itching to close you down, you can watch your hope for an early retirement pushed out again and again, and debt slowly creep up becuase you are always on the brink of making it. I have a friend who set an arbitrary date to make it or close down. He closed down and today he still doubts if he did the right thing (especially that now, two years later, his idea is being used by Yahoo, Intel, Hp… too early is worse than too late.)

    But of course, that’s not me. We’re gonna be huge.}

  2. I think there is a big difference between whacking off a feature of a product (like GigaGamez as part of the GigaOM network — or the Sopranos as one of the HBO original series) and shutting down a company. Adapting, tweaking or even repositioning a company is what entrepreneurs do all the time (great example: Loomia story http://www.foundread.com/view/good-migration).

    Shutting down (I think) is the very end of all – when all hope is lost.}

  3. I am not sure that the parallel really works in this case. Given the narative structure of The Sopranos, coupled with the fact that it made HBO into a new creative force to be reckoned with, there is an element of both closure for the viewer and respect for the franchise at work here. Now, if they decided to drag this slow demise out another year, you’d have something there.

    I do think your point about knowing when to just whack things is valid. But the style of demise is equally important. Sometimes it’s better phase things slowly out with respect to your remaining loyal customers and sometimes it’s better to make it quick and painless.}

  4. I agree the Sopranos is not the same this season nor was the last season that good either. Your correlation to whacking a business idea or venture though is a good one. I’ve got several ideas, blogs, etc in the works but it’s hard to know when to give up on an idea or to keep truckin. My problem is devoting the necessary time to one while trying to get another project off the ground.}

  5. The Sopranos is so self indulgent that it may as well be called the Haagen Daas season – what a waste of a final season…as for your throwing good money after bad….Om, you can balance the books by sponsoring ALLTHINGS.TV……a stunning blog on everything WEB 2.0 (We just interviewed Richard Rosenblatts new company Demand Media, whom have taken over the .TV extention from Verisign)aswell as the first forum on the entire net totally dedicated to every toic relating to WEB 2.0 – it was put up last night…so its just getting started….

    We have no competion – we are the competition….!!!

    But seriously, to quote from a movie that The Sopranos could never ever get to be in the same class as, GOODFELLAS, Henry Hill pointedly remarks – the way I see it , everybody takes a beating….you got yours and itd only good times ahead!!}

  6. Amie,

    it is not the parallels that are important. i think it was the sopranos that triggered the thought about hanging on to a project for too long. I think that was the essential thrust of the argument.

    regardless, i think you are making some great points.}

  7. Sure, the Sopranos has gone down in quality and total viewership. But, for HBO, 7.7 million viewers is still more than they could get for anything else they have on the air (Entourage? Rome? Big Love? I like them all but they haven’t drawn big numbers). If they pull the plug, they have to replace it with something. I think their decision to bail on the series has to be informed by possible alternatives. Maybe they’re waiting until they have something better in the wings?}

  8. So what I pick up from you Om, is that you certainly need to give it some time to pick up and be ready to pick up signals about when to whack it.
    Also, your comment about ‘never be Me-Too in your biz category’ , how would that argue against, ‘Competition is healthy & There is no single Unique idea’ paradigms?}

  9. Om,

    I have to say though, that pulling your investment is a hard thing to do. At the same time, what about the concept of never giving up? Changing the model as much as you have to until it works… of course, this does have its limit too. Many entrepreneurs are called crazy for what they do… but if often takes this unreasonable nature of the entrepreneur to make things successful. Of course, in the end, this all depends on context.


  10. Ravneet,

    I think while it is true that competition is healthy, i don’t believe that that there are no unique ideas. one has to work harder at finding those unique sweet spots.

    i think that makes it an ideal opportunity, and that is why I tend to spend time looking for those niches. I think Web Worker Daily was a good example of that.}

  11. That reminds of the time Opera interviewed Jerry Seinfeld and she was asking: “you were going so strong, why did you stop at season 9”.

    His response was in making an analogy with food. It’s delicious in the beginning, but as you begin to fill up, even the most delicious food turns into a painful stomach experience. So chose to end it on a high note and it left a good feeling in all of the viewers.

    That’s a classic example of knowing your idea’s been exhausted and it’s time to move on!}

  12. It depends how long the others have been in business. (1 quarter?!!) -You shouldn’t expect to take over the world in 1 day like Pinky from “Pinky and the Brain”.

    Google and Microsoft are both Me-Too companies. -Was Search finished with Yahoo, Inktomi, etc? Was Search Marketing locked-up after Overture?

    Cnet is basically irrelevant now after Gizmodo, Versiontracker, MacUpdate, TomsHardware, Anandtech, and ArsTechnica. -all of whom are Me-Toos after Cnet.

    I agree that Kenny Rogers has many lessons to teach us with his song, “The Gambler”, but it may not be irrational to expect your time to prominence may have to be equal to your competitors’ time in business, if not multiplied by some factor (esp. marketing $$$). -Attack them where they are weak. Ex: Giz is great where Cnet sucks.

    Part of this reminds me of a History Channel show around the DaVinci code blitz. -Supposedly, one of the rules DaVinci swore to live by was not to avoid or give up trying a project just because someone had tried something similar before.

    (all this being said, if it’s Killing you time/$$-wise and you need a quicker success, maybe moving on IS it…)}

  13. gigaom should have given up on the Sopranos earlier and learnt spelling. To lie on your back is to be prostrate. The little thing that grows bigger in Mafiosi and other males is the prostate.

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