Category: Failure

“Good judgement comes from experience. Experience comes from bad judgement.” – Jim Horning

Failure is a risk.

I’ve heard that in Silicon Valley, you’re not going to score an investment unless you have had at least one meteoric failure.  The thinks of the proverb is that unless you have had some failures in your experience, you haven’t truly learned enough lessons to be successful in the future.  This was certainly true in my electronics class.  I learned a lot more when my radio didn’t work.  The best electronics people are the ones who can figure out why things don’t work.

The other implication is that investors want you to learn on someone else’s nickel.

Regardless, you’ll never know everything in time to get started.  So go ahead and get started.  You’ll figure it out.



“Creating a healthy ecosystem is about churn. Whether companies grow, fail, leave or succeed is all part of it.” – Scott Case

The fact that somebody took a risk, got funded, hired some people and tried something is a good thing…for everybody.  We need to embrace our innovators and entrepreneurs and celebrate their failures as well as their successes.  A community that tolerates risk attracts more entrepreneurs and better companies.

The supreme challenge is typically not a lack of good ideas nor is it capital.  It’s experienced entrepreneurial talent.  You can’t gain experience without a few mistakes and at least a failure or tow.  That’s when you learn the most.

Churn is good.

“It was what it was, let’s all get on with it.” – R.E.M. from Collapse Into Now

Your past successes won’t predict your future.  Nor will your failures.  Each business startup has it’s own unique circumstances. Customers are different.  Markets are different.  The economy changes.

Experience can open doors.  Previous success get’s the first meeting.  Failure teaches valuable things.

But you still have to do the hard work.  The business model has to be fundable.  The numbers still have to make sense.

So show up 45 minutes early and stay 15 minutes late.  Get on with it!

“There’s a difference between failing and being a failure.” – Chris Miller

The man went to the CEO’s office to report that the $100,000 project was not going to work out.  Fearing loss of confidence, demotion and worse, he apologized for failing the important project.  The CEO wisely replied, “It wasn’t a $100,000 failure. If it had worked, we would have made millions but it didn’t.  Turns out I only paid $100,000 to find that out it.  Sounds like a bargain.”

Shots on goal are the only ones that score.


“If you hold a cat by the tail you learn things you cannot learn any other way.” – Mark Twain

Entrepreneurship is risky.  The thing is that entrepreneurs know their risk and develop plans to manage it.  Still, you’re never really sure your idea will work till you get into the market and that may take months and $ millions.

It is said that in Silicon Valley, an entrepreneur is not fundable until he or she has had at least one spectacular failure under the belt.  What that means is that investors want you to learn on somebody else’s nickel.  But learn you must.

They say the average entrepreneur faces failure two to three times before they find a hit. In the world of baseball batting, that’s pretty good odds.

A teacher in an electronics class said, “If your project works the first time when you finish, you haven’t learned anything.” Learning comes from figuring out what went wrong and correcting it.

Just remember, you’re not going to starve.  Give it a shot.