🎧 Episode 8: How I Decided To Shut Down My Tech Startup

Alex Yang
3 min readMay 21, 2024

Today I’m publishing Episode 8 of my podcast How I Decided — How I Decided To Shut Down My Tech Startup.

🎙 You can listen to the episode on Spotify or Youtube

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My guest today is Josh Shapiro. Josh Shapiro was the co founder and CEO of an education and tech startup called Edgi Learning. Josh spent more than two and half years dedicating his time to his startup before shutting down in 2023. For the decision of shutting down your startup, it’s a tricky situation because founders are constantly told to not give up and be persistent, yet shutting down your company can sometimes be the right decision. So how do you know whether you’re persevering in the right way or ignoring the signs to give up? In this conversation Josh and I explore this fine line and we also discuss:

  • 00:00 Intro
  • 03:49 Struggles with Monetizing
  • 07:06 How the Company Had Changed
  • 10:42 Separating Your Personal Mission From Your Company
  • 13:42 Killing Babies??
  • 15:41 Last Hail Mary Attempt
  • 16:50 The Paradox of Persistence
  • 18:47 Investors and Users
  • 23:02 Forgiving Yourself and Handling Fear, Shame, Guilt
  • 25:41 Did Josh Quit Too Early?

Takeaways

  • What helps in shutting down your company is realizing that your company’s mission (i.e. making learning fun for teenagers) and the entity that is the actual company are too separate things. Just because your company shuts down doesn’t mean that your mission has died as well. You can continue to be passionate about the mission and maybe consider if there’s a better time to pursue it again or to pursue it in a different way. Otherwise shutting your company down and can feel like a part of you has died as well, which makes it difficult to continue on in your mission.
  • When we’ve failed, emotions like shame or guilt can prevent us from wanting to step back and reflect upon what we’ve learned. So in seeing the entity and ourselves as two separate things, we can begin the process of reflection and also forgiving ourselves.
  • Persistence is crucial for startups and also paradoxical. Should you push forward or give up? It’s hard to know when looking back on it because because of hindsight bias. There also isn’t a set number for how many times we should try or push forward before we give up, but what’s most important is that you feel like you gave it your all and left nothing on the table before calling it quits.

Referenced

Where to find Josh

Thank you so much for reading and listening. If you’re interested in decision-making like I am, would love to connect and share notes! Think there’s anything I should’ve followed up on in my convo with Josh? Reach out and let me know!

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Alex Yang

How I Decided Podcast | Articles about Career Choices and Decision Making