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Adii Pienaar

Family man, seeker and learner. Revealing my inner-poet. 2X Founder: Conversio (acquired by Campaign Monitor) + WooCommerce (acquired by Automattic). Ex-Rockstar.

Return On Me (ROM)

I signed the deal to sell my WooThemes / WooCommerce equity to Mark and Magnus in November 2013.

18 short months later, they sold the business to Automattic at a reported valuation that was significantly more than the one I got in November 2013.

I had no insight into the acquisition itself and only found out it was happening as the story broke on 19 May 2015. What I do understand though is that in those 18 months nothing had fundamentally changed in the business; it had just continued to grow in the same vein as before.

The question that I have been asked often since is whether I regret leaving Woo when I did. Perceived logic here is that I had already spent about 7 years of my life invested in Woo and that if I had stuck around for only another 18 months, I would've received a significantly bigger financial payday.

With hindsight, I believe the universe was looking out for me immediately after Woo. I had originally planned to take a sabbatical, but got into Conversio sooner than expected. So by the time that Woo announced their acquisition, I was running a startup that had found product/market-fit and just raised a half million dollars in funding. This was a total distraction, which meant that my mind didn't latch onto the acquisition or comparison of possible financial outcomes.

What I can honestly say though, is that I had decided to move on from Woo back in 2013 with the strong conviction to challenge myself to build another successful business. I had this burning question of self where I wanted to prove (to myself) that I wasn't a one hit wonder. I couldn't get that outcome if I had stuck around at Woo and optimised for another outcome with a different measurement: Return On Me.

As I come up to the 6th anniversary of me leaving Woo, I can unequivocally say that my Return On Me during this period of my life has been incredible. I have learnt so much, been exposed to new and diverse ideas and people, ran a marathon, grew into healthier and happier home life, and so much more. Most importantly, today know more of who I am, what makes me magical and how to express that.

How can I ever look at this return with regret and resentment?

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