I recently heard the serial entrepreneur, Bret Taylor, speak with Kara Swisher from Recode: Decode about the redesign they did of FriendFeed before selling it to Facebook. He called the redesign a “dead cat bounce,” implying that the product had already lost to a competitor and it was a last-ditch effort to bring it to life, but was ultimately unsuccessful.
It got me thinking. Does bouncing a dead cat back to life ever work? At what point did he know it was dead? What would have been saved (in money, time, or “life force”), if he hadn’t bounced the cat one last time?
I don’t know much about FriendFeed, and I am in no place to judge, as I know that I have bounced a dead cat in my own career. Vigorously. With passion and authority. And seen it skid out. To see the effort amount to nothing other than lost time, money, and credibility.
It requires a lot of self-reflection and brutal honesty to avoid the temptation of playing “Weekend at Bernie’s” with your business, ideas, products, or initiatives. May we all have the courage to face the truth and focus our attention on the things that matter most.