Unfinished business = Sh*t!

Credit: stockphotopro.com
Unfinished business is not meaningful. It is more than just unsuccessful - it is sh*t! Allow me to explain my "french". If I finish a product and have taken more than reasonable effort to sell it to my target audience - it is meaningful (even if it proves to be a failure in the end).

On the other hand, if I stop working on my product midway or run out of steam before it gets a good shot at the market or try to sell an unfinished product and then stop working on it - the work is meaningless. Of course if I found out that my product idea was really bad and I quit then it is not an unfinished story. I have a feeling that out of the 95% of startups that fail - most quit before finding an answer. They are likely to fail again when they start another business. 

I can blame the lack of capital or  my partners or the recession or <bla bla bla> ... the point is - I stopped midway. And because of that, I will never know if my assessment of the market need was correct. I will never know if the product was capable of addressing the market need (that I had identified originally) or whether it was a distribution problem or whether it was an adoption problem or... We all have our own lens through which we try to understand the world and find meaning. It doesn't matter if you are a dentist trying to setup a successful clinic or a lawyer trying to set up your practice or a musician working on a new album. If you quit midway - your quest to understand how the world works and what it needs remains incomplete.

There is a scene in one of the best movies ever made - "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest". The residents of the mental institution are playing a card game. Danny DeVito tries to bet a "dime" using a cigarette split in 2 pieces. You can watch the scene here (starts at 20 seconds). The dialogues explain exactly what I am talking about:

Martini: [rips a cigarette in half] I bet a nickel.

McMurphy: Dime's the limit, Martini.
Martini: I bet a dime.
[Puts the two halves onto the table]
McMurphy: This is not a dime, Martini. This is a dime.
[shows a whole cigarette]
McMurphy: If you break it in half, you don't get two nickels, you get shit. Try and smoke it. You understand?
Martini: Yes.
McMurphy: You don't understand.