Hacker News new | past | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login
Become a better entrepreneur by failing completely (dechen.posterous.com)
21 points by davidechen on Apr 3, 2010 | hide | past | web | favorite | 19 comments

Every time I read an article about how great failure is I want to scream ONLY IF IT LEADS TO SUCCESS. and the only way to know if it does is retrospectively. I think the bigger take away from these article is really keep trying.

Failure can be great even if it never leads to success. Several people I've known have started a business with their own money, failed horribly, and never started another. But it gave them perspectives they never had before, and most importantly they worked the rest of their careers knowing that they had tried their best, and just weren't the right person at the right place at the right time to succeed.

I would say that is a kind of success

A true entrepreneur never permits himself alibis to fail.

Excuse yourself by falling back on the theorem that failing is good,

and you will never have the determination to push through those moments where success seems impossible.

Forget this notion that failure is good. Only remember it after you have, in fact, failed. Not before.

By true entrepreneur, do you mean someone born to be an entrepreneur? Are all successful self-made business owners true entrepreneurs?

If you've started a "practice startup" before your real startup... What was it and how did it help you?

I did that when I was younger - I started a company for the experience. Can you guess what I got out of it? Experience! (and not much else)

Now I focus on making money, solving problems, changing the world.

According to research cited in 37 Signals' Rework entrepreneurs that have failed previously are no more likely to succeed again than first-time entrepreneurs.

I think far too much business and start-up advice is nothing more than anecdotes and personal experience, none of it backed by hard numbers. (Rework is no exception.) Are there any books out there where people did actual research to back up their advice?

Here's a Harvard Business School research paper that suggests that in certain kinds of venture-backed startups, those who have failed before have a slightly higher rate of success.


It's like surfing. You have to paddle like hell to get to where the wave is going to be, then be standing on the board at just the right time. Once you've missed a few waves, you have a better idea of the timing.

There's a lot of things that have to line up to make a startup successful: vision, market, funding, and talent. Believe it or not, the market and the funding are likely to be more forgiving of previous failure than the talent.

I like that.

Failing as a characteristic of entrepreneurial success is way overrated in my opinion. I've failed, but that has only helped me becoming a better person, not a better entrepreneur.

Interesting opinion.

I guess I make an assumption here that becoming a better person by developing credibility & confidence helps you as an entrepreneur. Would you agree this may be the case for some young entrepreneurs?

I actually think that the younger you start an as entrepreneur the more influence this has on you on becoming a person.

Failing may make you slightly better equipped the next time. The most important thing is to keep trying.

If you've got a 10% chance of making it each time, just keep trying 22 times and you'll success 90% of the time.

Cool math! ;)

how'd u come up with 22? or are you just being facetious?

.9 ^ 22 is 0.098

therefore the chance of you trying 22 times and failing each time is around 10%.

therefore the chance of you succeeding in 22 tries is 90%.

failure is part of success.. check out Steve Jobs..

Applications are open for YC Summer 2020

Guidelines | FAQ | Support | API | Security | Lists | Bookmarklet | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact