Sunk Costs

Before you get started, I think it’s an important time to discuss my projects that got to the point of being built and never got off the ground. More than anything, we need to talk about the concept of ‘Sunk Costs’. If you think back to your Accounting 101 class in high school or college, this may sound familiar to you.

A ‘sunk cost’ is:

A cost that an entity has incurred, and which it can no longer recover by any means. Sunk costs should not be considered when making the decision to continue investing in an ongoing project, since these costs cannot be recovered. (taken from:

What this means to you is that just because you spent all this money and time getting this thing ready to go doesn’t mean doing it is the right choice. This is also known as the “Sunk Cost Fallacy”. The misconception is that you make rational decisions based on the future value of investments and experiences. The truth is that your decisions are tainted by the emotional investments you accumulate, and the more you invest in something the harder it becomes to abandon it.

The status of my projects

To illustrate this, let’s take a look at my personal projects that did and didn’t get started at or before this point:

Started but didn’t finish

  • Incentivs - sales gamification, just like what is now

  • Dogwalkit - pretty much just like

  • Leadbutton - lead gen system

Started and failed

  • RIS - practice management system for diagnostics imaging

  • The GuideFor Platform - ratings and reviews system for specific industries

  • Guide for Seniors - Content platform for seniors and the caretakers of US senior citizens

Started and Growing

  • Map Dynamics - Web-based mapping, agenda management, and sales system for trade shows, focused on associations.

  • BrainLeaf - Project scoping, approval management, digital signatures, and financial reporting tool for digital agencies. We use this extensively at my agency, JHMG, so it is always growing.

  • Medrev - Reputation management for larger healthcare groups, outpatient care, and hospitals. Just getting started, but looking good so far.

  • Diagnostics Marketing - Marketing platform and productized services company for diagnostics imaging

Right now, we’re running 4 for 10. Not great -- or so it seems. What is important to note here is that I got started, realized I didn’t have some aspect of something I needed to do the project, and abandoned it. In most of these cases, had I gone forward, I would have failed. But I didn’t realize it until I did some or most of my planning and actually got going on the project.

PROTIP: If you don’t feel good about it, don’t do it. You’ll probably just be throwing your money away anyway.

The application build process should only be started in you have done all of your planning. I want to say it again for you so you don’t waste your money and time: THE APPLICATION BUILD PROCESS SHOULD ONLY BE STARTED IF YOU HAVE DONE ALL OF YOUR PLANNING. So don’t stop here and start building; read the rest of the book first.

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