“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?!?

Editor’s Note: This post is too long — I probably need to come back and break it up into 2 different posts. If you happen to see this before I do that, well, sorry!!

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!”

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…]

Click PLAY. If I did this write, it should start right at the chorus (2:44)

…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…”

SPOILER ALERT:

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…

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?

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!
#ItsGroundHogDay


A FEW UNDERLYING PREMISES / PROBLEMS:
1a)
Most people have a very skewed perception of how many startups/entrepreneurs are struggling/failing — AND what the most common causes are…
BECAUSE:
1b) Startups will succeed loudly/publicly and will fail silently/privately — particularly Early Stage / Idea Stage.
THEREFORE:
1c) It becomes very difficult to improve a situation when most people don’t even realize the severity of the situation or just how repetitive and predictable the underlying causes are!
(For some reason, after observing it over and over again over the years, I’ve become fascinated by the topic!)

ONE WAY TO LOOK AT IT:

OR, PERHAPS…


IN CONCLUSION…


P.P.S.

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 :(

Tomorrow…
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!

[For thought/discussion/debate]
- 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?]

Editor’s Note: Do you know how hard it is to find 20 gender-neutral names that start with the first 10 letters of the alphabet?!?

STARTUP WHATEVER!

Entrepreneurial Epiphanies & Lessons Learned + Thoughts &…

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