Knowing When to Quit

Knowing When to Quit

For the past few months I have had pet project. I know, huge surprise. This was the one I thought, "When this is finished it will be a game changer".

I stayed up late writing code, designing the perfect architecture, creating flawless CI/CD pipelines; It was truly a wonder to behold.

As I started getting closer to completion I started exploring similar products. I knew what I was working on wasn't a new idea, but I felt like my take on it was better & as a result would lead to a more useful (seealso: popular) product.

I decided part of my market research would be to use one of the existing services to identify its weak points & figure out which features I could build to set myself apart. So I signed up, integrated it with one of my applications & started my review.

The product was fine.

It did exactly what it said it would, it fit my needs perfectly, & I couldn't find any glaring gaps in the offering. I walked away feeling like anything I built would be a clone with some extra weight.

Even though the product was great & exactly what I thought I needed there was one big problem.

I didn't see any benefit in using it.

The product didn't add anything great, in fact, I removed it from the application that was already fully integrated because the cost of maintaining it was more than the value it was providing. Not because it wasn't optimized, just because it wasn't useful.

What did this mean for my product? All of the time & effort spent making things just right?

I had to let it go.

The project wasn't a waste. I learned a lot & ended up with a lot of code that I will definitely reuse in other projects, but the grand product vision that I once had couldn't exist with the new information.

Letting go of ideas is a major part of growing as a person. We gain experience & learn new things, as a result things we made or thought in the past have to adjust to the new reality. The new information that we have about the world.

It is tough to see this as a positive at the time. All of us are guilty of giving in to the Sunk Cost Fallacy. We want to keep the things we built because we spent time making them. If we throw them away it feels like a waste.

It isn't.

We have to make sure we value all of the lessons learned & the journey we took to get there. That is where the real value lies.

As for me & my shattered product dreams?

I'm on to bigger & better things.