Chris McCann's Personal Blog

Life's too short to not do awesome things

Making Tough Choices

with 3 comments

You’ve probably heard the saying before – startups are all about focus. Focus, focus, focus means picking the right things to work on and blocking everything else out.

But what people never talk about is focus also means knowing when to cut out all of the things which aren’t within that focus. Saying no and killing whole products is the hardest but probably most important thing for focus.

This probably the hardest to do because of the psychology principal of commitment. We as humans want to honor our commitments and be consistant with our beliefs. It’s very hard to internally justify to yourself that you were wrong because you are then telling yourself that you made a bad decision in the first place.

My hypothesis is this manifests in companies through feature and product creep. No one wants to be the one person to tell the group they have been wrong and they should kill that feature or product. Even if its just mediocre, it’s always easiest to say “well someone like it, therefore we should keep it”.

A good thing to ask yourself is, would you have made that same decision knowing everything you know now? Really focus (for lack of a better work) on the gut feeling you get as you ask that question to yourself.

If the answer is no, then kill it and don’t fall into the commitment trap.


Written by Chris McCann

October 21, 2011 at 10:45 pm

3 Responses

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  1. Any good examples of when you had to do this yourself?

    Trevor Owens (@to2)

    October 22, 2011 at 12:35 am

    • Ya I didn’t want this post to be about our big decision vs. a more general framework for looking at tough choices. But we just made the decision to stop publishing all of the market and skill based StartupDigest (effectively killing ~40% of our readership base) in order to get back to our core focus >

      Chris McCann

      October 22, 2011 at 11:30 pm

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