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Be an early abandoner

By Beneath

Everyone talks about being an early adopter like it’s something to brag about.

But no one talks about the importance of being an early abandoner.

The early adopter gets the worm

Marketers like to be the first to use new technologies, tactics and channels. Leaving aside whether it’s any good or not, the novelty of the delivery mechanism might lend their message some extra credibility.

As consumers, it’s exciting to be ‘ahead of the curve’ too. Catch an idea young and you can feel like a hybrid user, beta tester, patron and creator by association – all at once.

Don’t join my Clubhouse room called ‘Be an early abandoner,’ because I’m not there

Look at Clubhouse. “Are you on Clubhouse yet?” people started asking. “You need an invitation”, they heard.

For an app that seems to be 92% a webinars-for-tech-bros-but-with-no-video platform, the hype was real.

So while I duly received my invitation and joined – and got that ever-shrinking hit of dopamine once I got there – something occurred to me. It was this:

Being an early adopter is great and all, but only if you also plan on being an early abandoner 98% of the time, too.

After all, what’s the alternative? Be a cynical ‘never adopter’ and dismiss everything as an overhyped fad? Be an early adopter and actually keep all that shit up, even when you know you’re not getting what you hoped from it? No amount of lockdown-reclaimed commute time makes that a good idea.

Abandon early, abandon often

To rephrase the whole ‘fail fast, fail often’ mantra – adopt early by all means, but abandon early too.

It’s something I’m learning as a marketer, but also as a mortal being – a guy with more stuff he’d like to do than time in which to do it.

I think it comes down to this. Starting things feels positive, constructive, a good expense of time and resource. The first-mover advantage of starting early can feel even better. But a lot of the time it turns out to be a horrible waste.

Letting go of that sunk cost and fighting any feelings of guilt and failure – that’s not easy. But often the best thing you can do with a shiny new thing is to make an informed decision to stop using it.

Maybe it’s just me, but recently stopping stuff is giving me just as much satisfaction – and sometimes more satisfaction – than starting it. Productivity hacks, exercise regimens, audio chat rooms…

Try new things. Evaluate. And if they’re working out for you, great. Give them more of your time. Repeat.

If they don’t work for you, abandon them. Do it early. And most importantly, feel good about it.