by Craig Forman
We all want to succeed. So, one of the trickiest decisions in business is knowing when to ‘pull the plug’ on a failing initiative. With so much at stake (employee careers, investor expectations, client needs – to name a few), it’s human nature in high-achievers to ‘keep going,’ even beyond the moment when the data and evidence points to the end.
So, how do you know when to simply call it quits? At Vox Media’s Recode Conference this week, Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos provided his insight. “Most companies quit too soon,” he said. “I want to keep going until the last ‘high-judgment champion’ folds his cards.” Sometimes, he himself is the sole remaining ‘true believer’ he added. In my book, ‘Be Luckier in Life,’ Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz discussed his conviction that some people ‘simply give up too soon,’ a sentiment shared by Amazon’s Bezos. Watch the video starting at 59:25.
A case in point: Amazon’s unsuccessful foray into mobile phones — an initiative he has called a ‘successful failure’ because the initiative, while unsuccessful, has reaped big benefits in such other businesses as the Kindle and the Alexa/Echo home ‘intelligent agent’ service.