Shiny Object Syndrome?

I knew there was a name for it, I thought, when I heard Yaro Starak mention it on The CEO Library podcastThe CEO Library podcast (by the way, there are plenty of other great episodes and articles, check them out). Yarak did a great job explaining how this plays out in most cases, for most entrepreneurs.

The shiny object syndrome (SOS), at its core, is a disease of distraction, and it affects entrepreneurs specifically because of the qualities that make them unique: craving new technology and new developments. This craving of new things can easily lead to unfinished projects, poor planning and time budgeting, and of course wasteful spending.

But, at the same time, it is a self-esteem issue, as Yarak pointed out. Sometimes, an idea might just need more time and hard work for it to really take hold. If you’re not confident enough, if you don’t have the mental strength for that uphill battle, you tend to lose faith. And that’s when you start looking for that next idea, next project, next shiny object to chase.

In my case, it was more the former: craving new developments. The businesses (and failures) I wrote about so far all happened while I had a main job, which was running X3. My main concern was to make sure that X3 was going well, although that might not have been so clear during my retelling of the story. I always saw these projects as “divisions” of the same great company, not as separate entities per se. That was the case later on as well, when launching other projects during the [e-spres-oh] years.

And this essentially describes my version of the shiny object syndrome: always having something to fall back on, a safe cushion given by the main business, I never really had to push myself up that hill, really get outside my comfort level if I didn’t need to. Having known that there was a safety net at all times, I didn’t have to try that hard to land each jump. I could always pick up and try again.

But that’s not how great things are built. If you believe in an idea, you have commit 100%. There is no way around it, win or lose. Trying to manage more than one business at a time, really means that neither have your full attention. I admire the people who can do this successfully, but I am definitely not one of them.

So stepping down as CEO of [e-spres-oh] was me acknowledging this and acting accordingly. [e-spre-oh] is in great hands with Daniel at the helm, and I can focus 100% on building this new shiny thing, Homefresh.

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