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Knowing when to call it quits. Barkles breaks the news with a remarkable email. [HUMP DUMP]


WHAT IS A HUMP DAY? According to Anthill’s founder and editor-at-large, it’s the logical name for a Wednesday (also known as ‘hump day’) brain dump. Once a week (or when he can be bothered), James Tuckerman records (often poorly) an unusual insight gathered from the many interesting people he meets during his travels. It’s a Hump Dump!

Last week, I was surprised to receive this linked email from Barkles, an online debating platform.

The startup, barely a year old, was calling it quits. I suppose that’s not so unusual. The mortality rate for start ups in Australia has always been high. What was unusual, however, was the candid nature that the Barkles founders, Diesel Laws and Jay Whiting, approached their sad news.

Given what little I know of human nature and our incredible reluctance to turn our back on any sunk costs (indeed, it’s called ‘Sunk Cost’ theory and it’s what keeps casinos buzzing with habitual cost sinkers), I can imagine that the decision to close any venture must be extremely painful.

Hence, most startup entrepreneurs take what I call The Hollow Men approach. (Their worlds end not with a bang but a whimper.)

However, if you are going to close your business, I can hardly think of a more mature and responsible way than like this.

Coincidentally, I ran into Barkles co-founder Diesel earlier today and I couldn’t help but ask for an interview. His philosophical and practical outlook simply has to be admired. If you have ever had to mercy-kill an ailing venture, share your wisdom below (for the mutual benefit of all Australian business builders).

HUMP DUMP: When to call it quits