Tag: SSTI Conference

“You’re worth nothing to me unless you’ve had three spectacular failures.” – Dan Wieden

This quote came from a talk at the 2013 SSTI conference in Portland.  Mr. Wieden was speaking about the investor’s perspective on startups.  The point he was making was that more learning comes from failure than from success.

Another way to say it is that previous success does not always predict future success.

Still another way to say it is; failure is not the end of the world.  You take those experiences with you and they inform your world view form then on.

A good friend told me the story of the conversation he had with his wife when they were contemplating starting a company.  The question was raised, “What’s the worst that could happen?”  His wife replied, “well, we’re not going to starve…”



Blogging Gazelle is published daily by Shawn Carson


“Entrepreneurship is NOT predictable.” – Rob Wiltbank

There are some great resources available now for Entrepreneurs:

  • “The Startup Owner’s Manual” by Steve Blank
  • “Business Model Generation” by Alex Osterwalder
  • “The Lean Startup” by Eric Ries

…and many others.

They all are based on one fundamental premise – All Startups are outliers.  They are a  new creation when they are formed.  Traditional business frameworks and management tools are all based on having data, which means having history.  If a Startup is brand new, with a brand new product, in perhaps a brand new market, how can it be predictable?

It is impossible for anyone to predict the success or failure of a new innovation.  That must mean the potential for success is infinite.  But so is the potential for failure.  Every time Apple releases a new product, there are those who predict their demise along with those who fInd miracles.  So what?

None of this matters to the entrepreneur.  It only matters to the hopeless masses standing on the sideline trying to gain attention by predicting the success of an outlier.

Go make meaning!

Rob WIltbank spoke at the 2013 SSTI Conference in Portland

“Entrepreneurship is NOT egalitarian” – Rob Wiltbank

The best technologies don’t always win.  Sometimes, ideas get stolen.  There are no rules of fairness and getting the government involved with entrepreneurship will only kill innovation.

Rules define boundaries and they constrain creativity.  They focus attention toward the mainstream and their purpose is to create efficiency and yet they consume resources without adding value.  The moment a rule is created, there has to be a measuring system and an infrastructure to evaluate and enforce the rule.

The Federal Government killed the potential of Startups to exit via IPO’s because they wanted to make sure we never have another Enron.

There will be plenty of barriers.  That’s why we have pivots.  Stay focused on the customer.

Rob Wiltbank spoke at the 2013 SSTI Conference in Portland

“Collaboration and planning are the opposite of speed” – Rob Wiltbank

Collaboration builds consensus and that’s a good thing.  But it’s not a substitute for decision making and it’s expensive in the most precious resource – time.

The CEO’s job is to decide and move forward.   Wasted time is gone forever.

Get good feedback from customers and the team but as soon as you see a direction, go!  If you hit a snag, that;s what pivots are for.

Rob Wiltbank spoke at the 2013 SSTI Conference in Portland