Ep180: Roger Dooley – Ask for Feedback to Avoid the Sunk Cost Fallacy

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Guest profile

Roger Dooley is an author and international keynote speaker. His books include FRICTION – The Untapped Force That Can Be Your Most Powerful Advantage and Brainfluence: 100 Ways To Persuade and Convince Consumers with Neuromarketing. He writes the popular blog Neuromarketing as well as a columnist at Forbes.

He is the founder of Dooley Direct, a marketing consultancy, and co-founded College Confidential, the leading college-bound website. He’s been a serial entrepreneur since he left a senior strategy position at a Fortune 1000 company to enter the then-nascent home computer market. Also, you can check his podcast entitled The Brainfluence Podcast.


“We all have a tendency that if we’re in a situation that is somewhat comfortable, we keep investing our time in that when we really shouldn’t. We should say, ‘Okay, a year from now, this is not going to be any better; it is time to pull the plug and do something else.’”

Roger Dooley


Worst investment ever

Investing in a company that does not want to be obsolete

Way back in the early days of home computers, Roger co-founded a business that focused on getting software, accessories and other products to the early owners of home computers. For years, Roger grew the business to a quite substantial size. But for the last five years, they began to level out and saw that the market was changing which made some of their original product areas defunct.

Instead of looking for an exit before becoming obsolete, Roger stayed with the business and managed to run it for a couple more years. And in those years, the business never grew nor had experienced big financial losses. It just existed in the market in comfortable inertia.

Money can be recovered but time can’t

After 13 years, Roger realized that it was time to exit. Although he had no substantial losses from that investment, he felt like he was trapped for years in a situation that never paid off long term.

This was for him his worst investment as it took so much of his time, which he can never get back. Yes, he invested money in that business, but for him, money lost can always be recovered.

Lessons learned

Treat time as money

The same attitude you put in investing your money applies to time. If you are putting so much time and money into a business to keep it going and you realized at some point that it is not working, do not be afraid to pull the plug and exit.

Find a way to exit it and keep yourself whole

Ask yourself what to do to change the trajectory of the situation you are currently on. Even if it’s risky, maybe breaking it is better than just limping along for another few years.

Andrew’s takeaways

A strong company can die slowly

Always be careful because you may be going down a slope and not even noticing it.

Time lost can never be retrieved

Time may be more precious than money because one can always recover from a financial loss but one cannot retrieve the time lost.

Actionable advice

Evaluate where you are periodically and take stock of where you are investing your time now.

No. 1 goal for the next 12 months

Roger will continue to keep promoting the ideas in his book FRICTION. He’s already booked for speeches around the world and workshops focused on the idea of how you can improve customer experience and employee experience by focusing on friction and making things easier.

Parting words


“Just keep evaluating where you are and try and be as dispassionate as possible. You can never eliminate all your biases, but do your best.”

Roger Dooley


Connect with Roger Dooley

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About the show & host, Andrew Stotz

Welcome to My Worst Investment Ever podcast hosted by Your Worst Podcast Host, Andrew Stotz, where you will hear stories of loss to keep you winning. In our community, we know that to win in investing you must take the risk, but to win big, you’ve got to reduce it.

Your Worst Podcast Host, Andrew Stotz, Ph.D., CFA, is also the CEO of A. Stotz Investment Research and A. Stotz Academy, which helps people create, grow, measure, and protect their wealth.

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