I recently went back to Seth Godin’s The Dip, a little book (and it is little) that talks about the idea of quitting being a good thing – provided that you know when to quit. Large companies in particular struggle with the problem of too many ideas. That sounds like a good problem to have, but in reality, it can frequently stifle innovation. Godin suggests evaluating the investment in growing an idea, especially those that are at a decision point, to determine if they are dead-ends or really just in a dip – the point where drive and commitment can take them to another level of success.
What I do on a daily basis for alphaWorks is predicated on a similar model that innovations survive because they are supported – in our case, by various factors such as community interest, market leadership and commercial viability which in turn affects funding and product development. Of the hundreds of technologies we publish, while many can be popular, there will be a select number that surface as commercial winners, and some that languish. So on an ongoing basis, we are evaluating emerging technologies to determine what their next step should be – nurture them, or just quit them.
As Godin says: Quit the wrong stuff. Stick with the right stuff. Have the guts to do one or the other.