How to Kill Ideas and Still End up Ahead: the Art of Stepping Away

I’ve been working for a guy named Vitaliy Rizhkov. He has been the founder Finic, which has been like an incubator for the companies I’ve worked for in the last 7 months. Not sure if you’ve been keeping track, but last week I went from Hipture to PICR. Crazy exciting move. The story I see unfolding with Vitaliy reminds me of the book I’m currently reading.

If you haven’t read the book by Tony Hsieh- you probably should. The book, Delivering Happiness: a path to Profits, Passion, and Purpose is about the story Tony tells about himself moving from being a kid into adulthood. It is his life laid out, his strengths his weaknesses, and the development of the mindsets that have lead to the creation of huge companies. A casual read that really gets into his story; I feel like I’ve had a long coffee break with the guy. Tony is very inspirational. And very much akin to the story I’ve recently experienced a crazy move by my boss.

Last Monday- the Hipture project was shut down. Our Kickstart was 120% funded, and Vitaliy yanked the cord. So many people were left adrift. I can’t describe how disorienting the whole thing felt.

We had an all hands meeting on Thursday where Vitaliy explained the situation. It really reminded me of the way Tony Hsieh describes the game of poker. Tony goes into some detail about his belief that poker is akin to starting a business. He lists of ways that Poker is similar to creating a business. I’ll just list a few bullet points:

-Table Selection is the most important decision you can make.

-It’s okay to switch tables if you discover it’s too hard to win at your table.

-You need to adjust your style of play through the night as the dynamics of the game change. Be flexible.

He describes that building a business is very similar to sitting down to a poker table. The dynamics between your skill level vs your competition’s dictate your potential for winning. Not all tables are created equal, and strategically moving from a table you can’t win at is appropriate. It’s not that you can’t win individual hands, but being able to win in the long term. It’s easy to get caught up in the hand, and sometimes you just have to accept that it’s time to stand up and move to a different table.

In my mind, it was like Vitaliy was playing at two tables at the same time. Somehow this game allowed you to play both tables with the same bankroll. On the Hipture table, he had a decent hand. We payed the blind to see the flop. The hand was ok. Our Kickstarted got funded, but it was lackluster. On the PICR table, he gets a REALLY good hand. Instead of waiting to see how things played out on the Hipture table, he folded and pulled his money out to go all in on PICR. It’s good to be flexible and embrace the changes. Especially when they are they right move. (Sorry if you don’t play poker and completely miss the analogy. You should try it out, very interesting game.)

Vitaliy believes in the work fast, fail fast system. It’s akin the Jordan’s “you can’t make the baskets you didn’t shoot” but with the business focus. Not dawdling over a decision, but moving forward with confidence. So, you’ll see me working hard and fast with PICR. I’m still involved in working with influencers. I’ll still be on Instagram quite a bit. No dawdling with indecision. I really look forward to what this week entails!

If you are a photographer, you HAVE to sign up. You really don’t have a choice. Like… at all. PICR is a game changer. Get in early, and get in while the getting is good. For all of those people I worked with on Hipture, let’s keep things going. I think there’s still plenty of crossovers.

I’m curious if this is a common thing that people experience? Have you ever worked at a startup? Tell me about your craziest pivot? How did it turn out? Let me know! I’m super curious!