Yesterday I met with a very dynamic team working at making their startup succeed. The partners, Gabriel and Samuel, were full of that enthusiasm young entrepreneurs have when they believe anything is possible.

Websystems started like that, eight years ago.

When your company is still in the nursery stage, the sky is the limit. There is never a conversation about things being technically impossible.  No sentence ever starts with “we can’t do that.” There is no technological debt to live with. Just dreams and hopes and energy.

Which made me think: why does this feeling stop? As the company grows, why do things become less possible?

Ease of change is proportional the resources invested in the project

Small teams, like small companies, have the ability to turn around much faster. Likewise, when we are at the beginning of something – company or project –  it’s much easier to change everything. It seems as time goes, it becomes harder to change our minds. We are blinded by the sunk costs. Sunk costs represent what we have invested already in something. We tend to hang on to those investments to justify not changing something.

This is wrong.

It doesn’t matter how much has been spent on a project or a technology. It doesn’t make it less of a bad choice. It is not a good argument to keep with the status quo.

Liberate yourself from sunk costs

When making a decision, ignore previous investments. Only look at the cost each option will have in the future.

Remember: you can’t change the past. Unless you invent a time machine.