“The Best Lessons are Learned from Failure” is a nice sentiment, but…
It’s also “HAPPY-HORSESHIT HINDSIGHT!” (unless you have a Time Machine)
If given a choice, wouldn’t we ALL have preferred to learn everything WITHOUT Failure?!?
Yes, of course we all like to say:
“I learned more from my failures than I did from my successes”
“It’s not about how many times you get knocked down, it’s how many times you get back up”
“Live and learn… Nobody said it would be easy… Hardship helps us grow… It’s always darkest before the dawn… blah blah blah”
But, let’s be honest… that’s some “HAPPY-HORSESHIT HINDSIGHT!”
*IF* you were given a time machine and the ability to learn all those same lessons WITHOUT the failures and WITHOUT the avoidable mistakes and WITHOUT repeatedly getting knocked down… Wouldn’t the vast majority of us choose to just learn all those same lessons WITHOUT the failures, mistakes, knockdowns, and distress?!?
Now, since time machines tend to be pretty expensive, the next best thing is the collective experience and analysis of a community of veteran entrepreneurs who have literally “been there, done that” — HUGE quantities of first-hand experiences, second-hand observations, and retrospective realizations to identify all the same patterns (all the same Mistakes & Missteps, all the same Problems & Pitfalls) that are experienced by new entrepreneurs year after year after year after…
“If only I had known then what I know now…”
I’ve said that…
And many of YOU have said that…
[And these guys apparently wrote a song about it in 1973…]
…and I GUARANTEE that, one day in the future, many young entrepreneurs of today and tomorrow will also be saying “If only I had known then what I know now…”
To the more experienced entrepreneurs out there (particularly the more self-aware, insightful, analytical entrepreneurs), many of us DO currently know many of the things that these young entrepreneurs will one day be lamenting “If only I had known then…”
So, doesn’t that kinda make all of us (the now more-experienced “wiser” entrepreneurs) — doesn’t that make us a bunch of A$$holes for not trying to teach those lessons to younger, less-experienced entrepreneurs BEFORE their inevitable stress, struggles, and failures?!
Or is failure really THAT MUCH a “rite of passage” that the more experienced, most insightful members of the startup community should literally hold back our knowledge/experience/wisdom — to force young entrepreneurs to learn it the hard way on their own?!? Repeating MANY of the same mistakes that we’ve seen made by countless entrepreneurs before them?!?
[NOTE: I’m not only talking about personal experiences of each individual entrepreneur — since, admittedly, that is not a statistically relevant number of experiences from which to draw any meaningful conclusions... I’m talking about those of us in Startup Communities who have now seen HUNDREDS of startup pitches, and had personal conversations with HUNDREDS of other entrepreneurs, and been around long enough to see how things worked out for all of them — a much, Much, MUCH larger sample size from which to identify patterns and trends!
— compared to the average first-time entrepreneurs who are coming in blind (year after year after year after year!) and therefore taking all the same (macro-level) approaches and having the same (macro-level) success odds as their predecessors (first-time founders last year, 5 years ago, 10 years ago)
Yes, of course “STARTUPS ARE HARD” — We’re Not Arguing That! — HOWEVER…
There are still MANY things we can do to dramatically improve the current success/fail rates — if we start thinking (and re-thinking?) more strategically and identifying / addressing the most common Problems & Pitfalls!
…Because simply following the same path and repeating the same approach of countless failed Startups/Founders before you (and yet somehow hoping for different/better results!?) sounds pretty close to Einstein’s(?) definition of INSANITY!
…And, yet, if we take a macro view of the Startup Community — it is a dumbfounding realization that we’re seeing today’s Startups/Founders failing at the exact same rate (and for many/most of the exact same reasons!) as Startups/Founders 5 years ago! (which failed at the same rate, for the same reasons, as Startups/Founders 10 years ago!)
SO… How do we explain that unchanging success/fail rate?
A) Some “natural law of entrepreneurship” that can not be changed?
C) Laziness? Incompetence? Einstein’s aforementioned definition of INSANITY?
STATUS QUO BIAS — A cognitive bias that explains our preference for familiarity… to resist change and prefer the current state of affairs
[definition from PsychologyToday.com]
And we, as a Startup Community, aren’t doing enough (that’s new! or different! or LEARNS from our collective experiences!) to try to break the cycle and improve success/fail rates!
ONE WAY TO LOOK AT IT:
“Yeah, that sucks… But startups are HARD, so those mistakes/pitfalls/failures are destined to keep happening to new entrepreneurs each year. That’s just how it is.”
…we could maybe try to identify some of the most “Persistently Pervasive PROBLEMS and Precariously Prominent PITFALLS” [#AlliterationAddiction] and maybe implement some improvement initiatives (within existing startup communities?) that maybe try to educate/warn aspiring entrepreneurs (the ones who are humble enough / open-minded enough to listen!) about the hazards ahead — or the proverbial piano that’s about to fall on their head — rather than just standing by and watching them walk into the inevitable disasters we‘ve seen happen countless times before…?!?
It will likely be a bit disorganized initially, but please contact us here if you might be interested in working with us on the testing and implementation of some new STARTUP S.H.I.T. [Strategies, Hypotheses, Ideas, Theories] —
…experienced entrepreneurs who share any of our thoughts?
…young/aspiring entrepreneurs looking to learn?
…and anyone/everyone in between — even those may have never even thought of themselves as an entrepreneur before!
5 Years ago…
Alex, Blake, Casey, Drew, Emerson, Fran, Gemma, Hayden, Ian, and Jaime were 10 smart, motivated, wide-eyed entrepreneurs, who each began working on their own (separate) startup business idea after graduating from college. They each knew that “startups are hard” but they each truly believe (knew!) that they would be successful. Unfortunately, over the past few years, for a variety of reasons, each of their startups failed :(
The entrepreneurial journeys are about to begin for Austin, Brooklyn, Cameron, Devon, Emory, Frankie, Grayson, Harley , Ian, and Jordan — they are 10 smart, motivated, wide-eyed entrepreneurs who have just graduated from college and are each about to begin working on their own (separate) startup business ideas. They each know that “startups are hard” but they each truly believe (know!) that they will be successful!
- Will tomorrow’s [ABCDEFGHIJ] have any better chance/odds for success than [ABCDEFGHIJ] from 5 years ago?
- Will tomorrow’s [ABCDEFGHIJ] derive ANY BENEFIT from the YEARS of experiences by [ABCDEFGHIJ] from 5 years ago? [the good stuff? bad stuff? trial & error? learning curves? sleepless nights? frustrations? realizations? depression? discoveries? problems? pitfalls? mistakes? — or all the blood/sweat/tears? or time/money spent?]