You might see, or hear, that I’m leaving Zest.is – the innovative marketing content stream that is co-distilled by marketers. It’s true. I am. It’s a cause I believe in (better content for all! Hand-picked!), people I genuinely like, and a community of peers I respect.
It’s like one of those break-ups where you remain friends, because you’reboth really great people, and it just didn’t work.
But, in the interest of examining the question of when to leave a community, I’m not going to leave my story at that. This also isn’t a blame game – not at all.
Here’s what happened.
Zest’s brand voice has extremely tight parameters that I could never quite jam myself into. I tried. I failed, a lot. And I had some ideas I thought were great (20+ years of experience will do that to a person) but the Zest team rarely agreed. My writing style is devoid of exclamation points and buzzing excitement – which are Zest trademarks. I’m just not that perky, folks.
I felt like I was trying to cram my square-pegged self into a lemon-shaped hole, and it wasn’t working. They knew it, I knew it.
Leaving was a mutual decision – and not in the way people say “oh, it was mutual” when it clearly wasn’t. Mutual for realsies. I wasn’t a good fit for what they needed; they weren’t a good fit for the value I could provide.
And when that happens, sometimes it takes a little while to diagnose. That in-between time feels terrible, like you’re constantly failing, like you suddenly know nothing and can do nothing right. It felt like there was a blanket put over my fire, because I’m so passionate about what I do.
These are the symptoms of bad fit.
When there’s bad fit, you’re not the only one who suffers. Your manager, your team, your community all suffer. It’s better for everyone to part ways.
This isn’t about how Zest did me wrong. They didn’t. It is about how to make the right decision about moving on from a startup, or community, or any relationship that you love when you’ve reached an impasse.
If you’re in a community or a job or a relationship – whatever it is – and your gut feeling is that it isn’t working out, you’re probably right, and it’s nobody’s fault.
I only have nice things to say about Zest. They’re good people. In many ways, it’s like losing a really good friend. I felt that close, and I still love what they stand for and what they’re doing.
A word or two from Yam, Zest’s CEO
Sometimes you fell in love with someone but you can’t put your finger exactly on the reason of why you fell in love with that individual.
This is not the case here. I fell in love with Nichole in the moment she suggested her first content in Zest.
It was love from first suggestion.
After that, we built together her job description and kicked off our partnership.
Working together as a team is the equivalent of living together, right? You have your ups, your downs, you need to show flexibility, carness, be mindful and take the full responsibility for each other.
We excelled in most of the above, but what we did not excelled in, felt like something we can’t overcome at this point of time.
Eventually, like in many other breakups, it’s not a case of “it’s not you it’s me”, nor “it’s not me it’s you”. In this case it’s a timing issue. Timing reflects on where Zest is today, where its brand maturity is and also, where I’m as a CEO is on this axis of timing.
Nichole, is our first love. I appreciate her as a person and as a professional.
I’m sure that our yellow brick roads will cross each other’s again at a later stage.
It’s a good vibes kind of a mutual breakup.
Love you so much, Nichole, and wishing a tonnnnn of luck and good karma in your next adventure/s
Co-Founder and CEO