On knowing when to call it quits, accept sunk costs, here is Issue #205: S P A C E | ‘Fallen Leaves’

When plans fail, strategies break, or things that used to matter don’t anymore.


It’s time to start a fresh chapter for S P A C E.

The autumn series is themed ‘Fallen Leaves.’ This is also the title of Issue #205. It will be published on Tuesday.

If you are new to Design Kompany, S P A C E is a weekly that I share with members of my online community, who tend to be a mix of old acquaintances, some friends that I care about deeply, former clients, and colleagues who also care about the shaping of quality space for connection, reflection, and opening our thinking to the possibility of being changed by what we hear. That, after all, is the very definition of listening.

The series in the spring was called ‘Lands on the Moon.’ I remember talking to tons of people and doing some interviews, too, for S P A C E, after putting out the call for interest. What happens when you shoot for the stars, but land on the moon? What did the pandemic teach you, and how did you find resilience?

Must admit that there was a lot of radio silence when I asked people to talk about it (social anxiety? fear of sharing? me being too intrusive?), but there were also some people who replied and gave me a lot to think about. I put the outputs of our exchanges into issues of S P A C E. Some of my favorites were ‘Certainty‘ and ‘New Baselines.’ Perhaps because I felt a genuineness in the conversations, a richness that you can only find when you know someone has done a lot of work to become deeply self-aware. I feel lucky to know such people.


Found | On the quarter life crisis, goal-setting, and goal-changing


Janet Li writes of her experience falling into depression on her Medium the following:

‘I had reached the midpoint of my MIT career, and was doing what I thought I was supposed to be doing — as a good daughter, as someone who had always loved science, as an MIT student who was supposed to be an engineer. But I wasn’t doing it for me. Not one bit. I had this realization, brought on by someone I barely knew, who was unaffiliated with MIT, that I had absolutely no idea what I was doing with my life. The thought was crippling, but outweighing that in my head was the notion that it was too late to change my mind. So I stuck with bioengineering. Finally, a couple weeks into junior fall, I broke. Deep down I knew I didn’t want to be doing this, and I realized… it was never too late. Better to change my career path now than a year, five years, twenty years down the road.’

The quarter life crisis. Something else to talk about, in another post, on another day.


What a business advisor for startups says about knowing when to quit

After all the talks about resilience, I am now looking at the fall series as a chance to really take aim at a very obvious, but difficult question.

The question about when you decide it is time to let go. How to realize that things have finished. Accept that there is nothing more to do. One of my business mentors, JM, and I will call and talk about this, soon. At the time of this post, we are already in good e-conversations about how, in the context of a startup or a business partnership, you know that it’s time to call it quits, and move on. I like this conversation. It really is helpful.  How do you know, I asked. The answer might surprise you. Will share with subscribers of S P A C E, this season.

I think it’s interesting now to turn the S P A C E ship to issues that tackle subjects like this. Pragmatic, now, instead of artistic. Example stories and ideas are: knowing how to choose our choices; and choose to choose, too.


Beyond fallen leaves: the opportunity to choose, change

And so, there are opportunities that come after we part with what we’ve clung to for a long time. When we let go of things we wanted to see fulfilled.

What if something’s just not going to be fulfilled? What about dreams that aren’t deferred, as Langston Hughes asks in his famous poem about it, but rather, are discarded in favor of better, more fitting ones. New dreams that suit the people we are growing into and becoming, next.

This is probably really abstract. That’s okay. S P A C E can be esoteric, at times. I am not going to shy away from that, to ‘fit’ a mold of what it takes to get ‘liked.’ No, thank you.

‘Fallen Leaves’ is a summary of a conversation with someone who talked to me a lot about the concept of ‘belonging’ back in the early part of this year when I hosted several zoom voice calls, to discuss it. That was part of the early series of S P A C E. Calls. These days it’s much quieter and more e-maily, which is also a nice thing.


A zine about choices, moving on, and change

This coming Tuesday, I’ll send a link to current subscribers of S P A C E to S P A C E | ‘Fallen Leaves’. Looking into ways to make S P A C E more valuable to you, as well, in the coming months. I am investigating once again the question of what it means to have so-called community.

Current subscribers of S P A C E will receive a link to this issue, on Tuesday. See below.

Last week was Issue #204, which was ‘Publishing through the Decades.’ It’s in the shop, here. I had a fun, eye-opening set of calls with three people who have been in the field for more than 25 years. A book publisher. A monthly magazine publisher. And the publisher of a community newspaper. They are all owners of their publications, either right from the start or having bought their publications. I listened, I learned.





Get a ‘3-month pack of S P A C E’ to get this series, starting Tuesday. Here’s a link. http://chuffed.org/project/spacethezine

Updated: August 2023