Let’s make this year the year of the losers. I’m kind of sick of celebrating “winning”. I’m getting sick of the stories of zuckerburg (who lives a bit like a loser) inspiring throngs if 19-22 year olds to go build the next Facebook because the reality is that most people trying to create something big will fail, they will lose, but because these people get no air time, no followings at conferences, no recognition at universities none of our budding entrepreneurs hear the pain.
When I spoke on the panel about winning, I had to write my thoughts on why I was NOT a winner and maybe now I am just understanding why.
But most small business fail, leaving those who started them with broken relationships, debt that may take years to get out of, and disappointment.
Where are those stories on techcrunch or in your inspirational blog tags in your reader, huh? The other thing I notice is that most entrepreneurs are the best exaggerators and liars out there. You think they are successful, but they aren’t. Closing a round of funding is not success, its a lifeline. Selling the business and taking care of yourself and the people who helped build it is, not ruining your family to win in business is success, along with a slew of other things, I mention in the above post on why I am not a winner.
Ask the average guy or gal how their new venture is coming, and typically you’ll hear things like “doing well”, “turning the corner”, etc… You assume things are going well, when for many of us they are not. When I ask a business owner how things are going and they are secure enough to say “tough” I respect the hell out of that.
So budding entrepreneurs, I implore you to go talk to failures, there are many more of them out there than successes but I guarantee that you’ll have a much harder time funding them for two reasons:
1 - no one likes talking about their failures anymore, as if its personally admitting you are a failure.
2 - these people are hard to find b/c they get no visibility, yet you will probably learn more from them than from others who are “successful”. If we keep only showing people the bright side of entrepreneurship we are not giving budding entrepreneurs the real truth.
Let me tell you why I am writing this…the first company I worked for (and was the first employee at) went under, and it was painful for me - I left a relationship in ruin and my heart was empty..I poured so much of myself into being a great worker there. I have never talked to my old bosses about that company going under, but I was close enough to get a feeling for the pain they felt, cause I remember getting the call that it was over. I remember Ettore Rossetti, my direct boss telling em he’d do anything to help me get another job, I lost the reference letter, but he wrote the most personal reference letter ever.
So with that said, failures, come out of the closet, so many people will thank you for sharing your failures, your mis steps, and how you rebounded than just some stories about how awesome your products were, how to get investors, etc. That shit is old.