‘Why I love to quit’

Paul Jarvis experiments with words and design. His latest book is called The Good Creative: 18 ways to make better art.


There’s the old adage “a quitter never wins and a winner never quits” that tells us to slog on when something’s not working, and tough things out until they do.

(Nerdy fact: The quote comes from a self-help pundit named Napoleon Hill in his book Think and Grow Rich from 1937. For some reason, it’s typically and inaccurately attributed to Vince Lombardi, a football player and coach. Vince probably had a better marketing team.)

I’m basically a serial quitter.

I quit university. I quit my one and only real job. I quit several startups I founded. I quit yoga (then quit quitting yoga). I quit consuming meat, dairy, gluten. I sometimes quit paid Web design projects. I’ve even quit living in several cities, packing up in a huff and flipping the bird from the moving truck on the way out of town (that’s another story).

We don’t want to be known as quitters – as someone who just couldn’t hack it. So quitting is equated with failure.

But like most things in life, it’s not that black and white. For example, we wouldn’t consider ourselves failures if we quit being addicted to heroin, or quit a job with a verbally abusive boss, or quit running marathons because the muscles holding our legs together were deteriorating to the point that if we continued, we’d end up paralyzed.

These are extreme examples, but still, they help illustrate that quitting isn’t always the ultimate disgrace. But what if the situation isn’t as extreme?

Most entrepreneurial experts, motivational speakers and pro-sports coaches will tell you that you can’t give up. Giving up is the only sure way to failure. Hell, I’ve said versions of that in books I’ve written, too. Guess I’m quitting that opinion now…

I’ve realized that I love quitting.

There’s a feeling that washes over me the second I either act on quitting or tell myself that I’ve just quit something: it’s absolute relief. Sweet, sweet relief. As if a fog has cleared in my brain and my shoulders can now drop back to their normal position, instead of being stuck all the way up by my ears.

Sunk cost bias

im a quitter Why I love to quit

But quitting is not easy. Quite the opposite. This is due to something fancy folks (psychologists) call sunk cost bias.

Basically, we all have a greater tendency to keep going with something once we’ve invested in it. When time, money and/or effort are involved, we feel like we need to justify depleting those resources with a favorable outcome by using more of those resources.

We don’t want to feel like we’ve wasted our resources, so we keep going. And by then we’ve invested even more, so we really can’t quit now. Even if it’s not working out or not fulfilling us or achieving the results we really want.

It’s like buying tickets to a fancy play that ends up being boring, but we’ve already spent money on tickets, driven an hour to the theatre and sat through half of it… so we might as well stick it out until the end, wasting even more of our time with it, knowing there’s a negative return on investment happening.

As a result of this bias, we tend to stay the course or even invest additional resources in bad decisions in a futile attempt to make the initial decision seem worthwhile. We can’t quit now, we’ve got skin in the game.

Operating on limited resources

Bringing it back to myself and the people around me (other self employed creatives), sunk costs really hit at a personal level because we’re doing things on our own. We’re the boss, we’re in charge, and it’s on us if things don’t go well.

For almost all of us though, we’ve overcome this bias before. We’ve all quit jobs that had steady pay and some level of certainty. We were dissatisfied or craved more, and decided to quit. We beat bias (let’s high five later)!

But then when we start to work for ourselves and something’s not working, or no longer fulfilling or not achieving the results we’d hoped for, we mostly try and just push through. I know I’m guilty of that.

We soldier on, thinking we’re making the right choice, but really, we aren’t making any choice.

By not quitting, we’re saying no to all other opportunities. We’re saying no to trying different routes or options, or doing something in a new way. We’re saying no to spending our time, money and effort elsewhere.

Uncertainty is scary

uncertainty 730x481 Why I love to quit

We do this because quitting involves uncertainty. At least if we don’t quit, we have a clearer idea of our direction. Saying no means we may not be sure what’s next, which can often seem scarier than simply continuing on with the thing that isn’t working.

But I’ve reached the conclusion that 9 times out of 10, choosing to quit is more important than toughing it out.

Quitting is a direct action that leads to a more thoughtful and efficient way of spending our limited resources. There’s value in choice, in quitting, and in accepting that neither is failure. Quitting is really just opening up to new, possibly unknown, opportunities. Yes, it could lead to everything going to shit, but if it’s already gone to shit, why not quit?

And if you think through your post-quitting steps beforehand, your world won’t necessarily come crashing down instantaneously.

When to throw in the towel

So how do we know when is the right time to quit, since this decision is laced with fear and uncertainty?

Honestly, there’s no way to tell when the right time is. But when whatever we’re doing isn’t improving even after substantial effort, then that’s a good sign quitting should be at least considered.

We can consider quitting for lots of other good reasons too, because: we’re allowed to change our minds, we’re allowed to say no, and that we aren’t perfect. And really, most of the time, no one but us cares if we quit or not. Our perceived massive failures, especially when it comes to our work, aren’t even blips on other people’s radars.

There are definitely crappy ways to quit something. Grace, especially when others are involved, is important. Burning bridges isn’t a great idea.

We need to re-think our opinion of quitting. Admitting and learning from mistakes can be far more valuable than persistence and perseverance.

Quitting what isn’t working opens up room to work on what might work better.

So if I’d said it, the quote would be more like: “a quitter sometimes wins and a winner sometimes quits.” Just attribute it to Vince Lombardi.

Read next: Removing unnecessary negativity from your life

See the original post: ‘Why I love to quit’

RadiumOne Issues Not-Quite-Apology For Ousting CEO Who Pled Guilty To Domestic Violence

Ad platform RadiumOne and its former CEO Gurbaksh Chahal have issued a joint statement that is intended to “bring an end to all disputes they have had.” RadiumOne removed Chahal in April following media criticism of his guilty plea for charges of misdemeanor battery and domestic violence battery.

“The Board did not intend to hurt Gurbaksh,” the statement reads. The words “sorry” or “apologize” weren’t used, but the joint statement says the two parties have resolved their dispute.

Though it’s not explicitly stated here, the language suggests that this could be connected to some undisclosed settlement behind the scenes, such as RadiumOne agreeing to compensate Chahal for his termination.

“This statement released today reflects an agreement between RadiumOne and Gurbaksh Chahal to bring an end to all disputes they have had,” the statement begins.

RadiumLogo imageThe announcement could draw criticism to RadiumOne; many supported its decision to banish Chahal after police said they had a security video of him hitting his girlfriend 117 times on August 5, 2013 (the video was thrown out of court).

The Board had always intended Gurbaksh to lead the company, and recognizes the enormous contributions he has made to RadiumOne. The Board knows that many people, including Gurbaksh and his family, have suffered tremendously. The Board did not intend to hurt Gurbaksh or his family by its decision, and recognizes that Gurbaksh’s termination made an already difficult situation for Gurbaksh and his family worse.

The company also notes: “From its inception in 2009, RadiumOne grew tremendously, and quickly became profitable and valuable, under the leadership of its founder and last CEO, Gurbaksh Chahal.”

This contradicts the internal memo from RadiumOne attained by Re/code after Chahal was fired. That memo said: “Given recent developments, it became clear that Gurbaksh’s ability to lead the company had been severely compromised by the legal proceedings and ensuing developments.”

Gravity4 image

After being fired, Chahal vowed that he would seek vengeance against RadiumOne, explaining “You have left me with no other options but to seek legal recourse. And, now will have to face severe legal consequences individually for this in the court of law.” Today’s statement indicates he’s no longer suing. That could mean that RadiumOne agreed to settle with Chahal. With the company trying to go public, it may have thought it was better to remove uncertainty and quash the legal attack with a cash or stock settlement rather than letting it loom over the IPO.

Chahal is now working on launching a new startup called Gravity4, which is a marketing platform for handling all sorts of programmatic and real-time bid advertising plus analytics from one piece of software. Unfortunately, the sullied reputation of its founder may make it tough to get off the ground.

The full joint statement is below:

The statement released today reflects an agreement between RadiumOne and Gurbaksh Chahal to bring an end to all disputes they have had. It is in everyone’s best interests to move on from this difficult period of time to focus on building their respective businesses and prioritizing the needs of employees and customers.

From its inception in 2009, RadiumOne grew tremendously, and quickly became profitable and valuable, under the leadership of its founder and last CEO, Gurbaksh Chahal. The business priority last year was to continue to build a great company and prepare it for a potential IPO. When allegations were brought against Gurbaksh in August 2013, the Board maintained full support of an expedited closure of the legal process. RadiumOne board members along with many others supported Gurbaksh’s decision to accept a misdemeanor plea instead of continuing the long court process for full acquittal for the sake of the company, its employees, and its customers.

The Board had always intended Gurbaksh to lead the company, and recognizes the enormous contributions he has made to RadiumOne. The Board knows that many people, including Gurbaksh and his family, have suffered tremendously. The Board did not intend to hurt Gurbaksh or his family by its decision, and recognizes that Gurbaksh’s termination made an already difficult situation for Gurbaksh and his family worse.

Gurbaksh accepts the Board’s statement. To the Board and the hardworking, dedicated employees that have helped RadiumOne become the force that it is today, Gurbaksh extends his best.

Both the Board and Gurbaksh are thankful to have had this opportunity to resolve their disputes. Gurbaksh wishes the company the continued success that he knows is possible, and RadiumOne wishes Gurbaksh success in his pursuit of new opportunities.

Read more: RadiumOne Issues Not-Quite-Apology For Ousting CEO Who Pled Guilty To Domestic Violence

Netflix now has 50 million streaming subscribers

Netflix announced today (PDF) that it topped 50 million streaming subscribers during the second quarter of 2014. That’s a whole lot of binge-watching.

The company still has plenty of room to grow internationally, though, as just 13.8 million of Netflix’s 50.05 million streaming members are located overseas. Meanwhile, Netflix’s flagging DVD service has just 6.3 million US members.

Original content has played a crucial role in helping Netflix grow its subscriber numbers. Season two of Orange Is The Next Black, for instance, helped the show become the most-watched series in every Netflix territory within a month of its release.

On the financial side, Netflix boasted $130 million in operating income for the quarter, a significant jump from $57 million in Q2 2013.

Netflix Q2 earnings

Feature Image: AFP/Getty Images

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See the original post here: Netflix now has 50 million streaming subscribers

The Majority Of Today’s App Businesses Are Not Sustainable

Though the app stores continue to fill up with ever more mobile applications, the reality is that most of these are not sustainable businesses. According to a new report out this morning, half (50%) of iOS developers and even more (64%) Android developers are operating below the “app poverty line” of $500 per app per month.

This detail was one of many released in VisionMobile’s latest Developer Economics report (for Q3 2014), which was based on a large-scale online developer survey and one-to-one interviews with mobile app developers. This report included the responses from over 10,000 developers from 137 countries worldwide, taking place over 5 weeks in April and May.

That mobile app developers are challenged in getting their apps discovered, downloaded and then actually used, is a well-known fact. But seeing the figures associated with exactly how tough it is out there is rather revealing. It seems the “1%” is not only a term applicable to the economy as a whole – it’s also taking place within the app store economy, too.

The report’s authors detail the specifics around the trend where a tiny fraction of developers – actually, it’s 1.6% to be exact – generate most of the app store revenue. Slyly referencing the “disappearing middle class of app developers,” the report’s analysis groups the estimated 2.9 million mobile app developers worldwide into a handful of different categories for easy reference: the “have-nothings,” the “poverty-stricken,” the “strugglers,” and the “haves.” And, as you can tell, most of these categories don’t sound too great.

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Have Nothings

Accounting for 47% of app developers, the “have nothings” include the 24% of app developers – who are interested in making money, it should be noted - who make nothing at all.

Meanwhile, 23% make something, but it’s under $100 per month. These developers are sometimes unable to cover the basic costs of development PCs, test devices, and an account to publish apps, the report states. However, in case you’re wondering why so many developers still go iOS first, it’s because those who prioritize iOS app development are less likely to find themselves in this group, with 35% earning $0-$100 per month, versus the 49% of Android developers.

There’s also a portion of the app developer population (35%), some of whom aren’t interested in making money. The report refers to these part-timers as “hobbyists” or “explorers,” who may be just testing the waters, or working on apps that have yet to launch. Still, more than half of this crowd is interested in making some money from their applications, while less than half make $0 per month.

Poverty Stricken & Strugglers

Meanwhile, 22% are “poverty stricken” developers whose apps make $100 to $1,000 per app per month. At this rate, the companies behind the apps couldn’t afford standard app developer salaries. 15% of developers make between 500 per app per month and 7% make between 1,000 per app per month.

When combined with the above “have nots,” that means 62% of developers are below the “app poverty line” of $500 per app per month, and some 69% can’t sustain full-time development.

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The “strugglers” are a bit more fortunate. 19% of developers earn $1,000 to $10,000 per app per month, which could either be a supplement to full-time work or even a something of a good living, if in the high-end of that band. But these apps also tend to be more complex, requiring more development effort, and possibly ongoing server costs which can cut into the developer’s bottom line.

Winner Takes All: The “Haves”

Finally, there are the “haves.” The top 12% make more than $10,000 per app per month. 17% of iOS-first developers are in this group versus 9% of Android-first developers. To give you a sense of this group’s members: a rank-100 grossing game on iOS in the U.S. would expect to make $10,000 per day.

However, states the report, only the top 1.6% of developers make more than $500,000 per app per month, but of those who do, some are earning tens of millions per month. The next 2% – those who make between $100,000 and $500,000 per month – are making more than 96.4% of the rest of the app developers out there.

“More than 50% of app businesses are not sustainable at current revenue levels, even if we exclude the part-time developers that don’t need to make any money to continue,” states the report. “A massive 60-70% may not be sustainable long-term, since developers with in-demand skills will move on to more promising opportunities.”

As Apps Disappear, Will They Be Seen As Disposable?

The interesting thing about these numbers, besides just indicating how hard it is to have an app really hit big, is that the market economics are actually encouraging developers and users alike to see most apps as disposable things, not businesses you remain committed to long-term.

These days, many mobile app startups look more like resumés for developers who will soon abandon their work following acqui-hire M&A deals. And the continuous exits and new launches – where some startups are even being scooped up pre-launch – are creating an app consumer user base which thinks of apps as things that will quickly disappear (if you’re not Facebook, I suppose).

That makes it harder for many users today to buy into claims that an app wants to be your go-to home for important, lasting communications – like messaging clients aimed at businesses or the apps that want to store all your precious photo memories. And of course, most games have limited life-spans, too.

But on the flip side, today’s younger consumers are wired differently from their Gen X or Y (and older) counterparts. They’re fine with impermanent messages, deleting their social media accounts at will, data loss be damned. This group of consumers is an ideal audience for the increasingly disposable nature of mobile apps – at least while the current consumer app gold rush continues.

Read the original: The Majority Of Today’s App Businesses Are Not Sustainable

Latest iOS 8 Beta Update Includes Tips, An App That Shows Features You Might Miss

iOS tips

Announced last month at Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference, iOS 8 slightly refines the look debuted last year while adding a bunch of new features like the ability to interact with notifications, smoothly transition between working on your phone and laptop, and new ways to message people.

Since its announcement, Apple has steadily rolled out these new features and apps in periodic beta releases. As 9to5Mac and other Apple blogs picked up this morning, the latest release includes a new Tips app pointing out features and shortcuts that aren’t immediately apparent, as well as the steps necessary to turn them on or off in settings.

iOS 8 tip

In addition to the app, the company has also launched a web page dedicated to showing off tricks for the iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. Both the app and site currently show the same tips, like how to respond to an iMessage directly from a notification in iOS 8 or how to use Siri without pushing any buttons.

Both methods of accessing tips also let users leave feedback. The iOS app in the current beta lets you “Like” a tip, while the web page has buttons for “Helpful” or “Not helpful” under each trick.

While there are only six tricks shown at the moment, Apple says that it’ll be adding one per week. At that rate, it should have all of the major new features in iOS 8 covered — assuming the Tips app makes it to the final consumer release this fall.

IMAGE BY Apple (IMAGE HAS BEEN MODIFIED)

Read more: Latest iOS 8 Beta Update Includes Tips, An App That Shows Features You Might Miss

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