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October 11, 2022
This week, we’re sharing advice on a somewhat taboo topic: why you should quit more often than you think.

Grit or Quit? Tactical Advice for Founders Facing Tough Company Building Decisions

Dice featuring different options, with turn around, continue, stop

Quitting is not a popular topic in startup circles — it’s almost like how actors won’t say Macbeth inside a theater, for fear of bad luck. History is marked by success stories of founders who refused to quit, even when just about every signal was telling them to do so. 

But Annie Duke is on a mission to rehabilitate the word. Her new book, “Quit: The Power of Knowing When to Walk Away,” (released just last week) dives into all the misconceptions about quitting, and makes the case that it can actually be a superpower, rather than a weakness. 

Earlier this year, we officially introduced Duke as First Round’s Special Partner for Decision Science, so we’ve seen the power of her advice firsthand as she’s helped us refine our investment decisions and introduce more rigor to our process. (She’s also previously shared her decision-making advice for founders right here on The Review.) 

That’s why we were thrilled to interview her on our podcast, In Depth, sharing a sneak peek of the wisdom that’s jam-packed into her latest book. “When we look at success stories that were a long time in the making, there’s a temptation to say sticking to it is just good — full stop. But the problem is that the grit that allows us to power through will also get us to stick to things that aren’t worthwhile,” says Duke.

Success comes from sticking to the stuff that’s working and quitting the rest. That’s why quitting is a skill you need to get good at.”

Photo of Annie Duke

And as a consultant, bestselling author and former poker pro, there are few who are better equipped to teach founders about the art of knowing when to hold ‘em, and knowing when to fold ‘em.

Today on The Review, Duke unpacks the psychology behind why it’s so hard to walk away. Her tactical advice is helpful for all the forks in the road you’re facing, whether it’s quitting your job, firing an early employee, abandoning a product, changing your go-to-market strategy, or sadly, shutting down your startup.

Here’s a preview of what’s in store:

  • Why we shouldn’t hide behind the word “pivoting.”
  • How cognitive biases cloud our judgment, from the sunk cost fallacy and founder identity, to our preference for the status quo.
  • The problem with grading goals as pass/fail.
  • How monkeys, pedestals, and kill criteria will help you get better at walking away.

If you’d prefer to listen, check out the podcast episode here.

Thanks, as always, for reading (or listening) and sharing!

-The Review Editors

Take me to The Review

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