"You can never bat 100 in politics" was how Steven Joyce summed up his career during a doorstop interview at Parliament today
That rueful observation certainly holds true as Joyce — one of the losers in the contest for National's leadership — was sufficiently humiliated by incoming leader Simon Bridges to take the hint and resign.
Joyce was magnanimous enough to back Bridges publicly and offer future help to National if needed.
But the brutal reality is that Bridges had stipulated he would not countenance Joyce remaining as National finance spokesman in his upcoming reshuffle.
While he was offered a front-bench berth, it would only be a matter of time before Bridges' collaborators sunk another giant short under Joyce's political future.
Columns and stories about how it was time for more generational change; more questions about Joyce's micro-management style; allegations of cronyism; caucus bullying, miscalculations during the election campaign — and then that $11 billion fiscal hole. That drum was not going to disappear.
Nor the venom with which Joyce's detractors have piled in.
Joyce — who went "berko" in caucus after a similar drum beat began in January over Bill English's longevity as National leader — had seen the effect on his colleague.
Like English before him he took the only rational step.
Well all I can say is — "it is better on the other side, Steven".
Welcome back to business where, based on your past performance, you will prosper.
There are plenty of people in the business sector who will appreciate the contribution Joyce has made to public and commercial life in New Zealand.
I've witnessed that close up during missions offshore where Joyce has inspired leaders of smaller companies (including the tech sector which he loves) to become enthused about entering difficult markets.
Yes, he was the Cabinet workhorse during Key's prime ministership (along with being National's election strategist) and became known as the Minister of Everything.
But that understates the role this former entrepreneur played outside of the political beltway.
He has been a constant and enthusiastic champion of New Zealand business.
Some aspects of his former role gave rise to disquiet. Particularly, his tendency to run policies that saw overly generous "corporate welfare" at the big end of town, without getting sufficient payback or return on the taxpayer's investment.
And some questionable deals — like the pokies' trade-off that his team negotiated with SkyCity to build the International Convention Centre.
I've debated this with Joyce personally.
But he took the view he was results driven.
Like English he will feel deprived that his time in his most senior role — finance — was a relatively short one.
But together with his predecessor he can say he left the books in good shape. The reality is that Joyce was the third man in the highly effective triumvirate that dominated New Zealand politics for eight years before Sir John resigned as Prime Minister in late 2016.
At times we have talked about what his life might be post politics.
In Beijing, at Gungho Pizza (an outfit owned by a Kiwi entrepreneur) he couldn't stop himself saying that if he was 20 years younger he would be involved himself in the captivating Chinese market.
Then there was the conversation we had about what newspaper assets he might like to acquire in a New Zealand shakeout (and do a better job than the current owner).
These recollections underline that there is a big world out there for an entrepreneurially minded former politician who carries with him the cachet and connections (both domestic and international) of nine years in Cabinet. In the meantime, @stevenjoyce enjoy being an at home dad and keep the #vegegardentweets coming.