A 3-step exercise to weather tough conditions as a founder

I went full-time on my first company just as a recession was hitting. Over the next four years Imade every mistake in the book, plus enough for another book. As we(probably?) enter a recession once more, here’s a simple exercise I’ve found tremendously helpful.

There are just 3 questions:

  • What am I bringing along from the past venture?
  • What I am leaving behind?
  • What changes now?

Bring, Leave, Change. That’s it.

I’ve found this exercise particularly helpful as it’s not practical to document and synthesize all the learnings from times past (as much as my Ennegram Type 5 wants me to). Too much time has gone by. Many changes have happened in me, my work, and the world.

You can do this exercise whenever you start something new, but I also find it clarifying to revisit every few months.

Here are a few of my answers from when I started Wavetable. Perhaps they’re interesting or helpful.


  • underdog spirit
  • no hierarchy
  • always test new tools and models
  • studio vibe
  • roots in a global city


  • the chip on my shoulder
  • narrow horizons
  • hiring too quickly
  • diversifying too quickly


  • build around a few core clients
  • tether to a specific world view / theme
  • bring in mentors and support from the start
  • create a fresh narrative around the work

What would you - or will you - Bring, Leave, and Change?