- “When I frame the analysis as risk-reward instead of success-failure, we did well.”Maybe because I failed before with Body Boss, but this was incredibly resonating. Like Gregg highlighted, there was so much gained from the experience that isolating the outcome based on commercial success would be vain. In the end, we threw out risk to attempt something special. The reward beyond was worth it.
- “One of the things that I hate about being an entrepreneur is that sharing the uncertainties I have about my business usually carries with it negative consequences that outweigh the benefit of transparency. When someone asks, ‘How’s business?’ the answer can seldom be, ‘It doesn’t look like it’s going to be sustainable.’” Geez, this ateat me towards the end of Body Boss. I felt like a fraud when I spoke to others – prospects, yes, but especially with my personal connections (friends and family). The weight of faking a smile was heavy. So heavy, in fact, that I avoided any discussion about the venture as much as possible.
- “I’m not embarrassed or ashamed that Inkdit didn’t thrive. My friends, family and community haven’t made me feel that way. In fact, they’ve done quite the opposite. I’ve been reminded that I have many people who support me.” As the dust settled from shutting down Body Boss, friends and family came from everywhere pledging support. It was humbling. In many ways, too, I was proud. Many applauded our courage and how we built something from nothing.
Gregg’s experience from failure sounds a lot like mine. As I read the comments to his article, I’m reminded of the power of sharing unsuccessful stories and being vulnerable. Confidence in what we’ve achieved and where we’re heading gives us power to go again. Sharing our stories gives others the confidence and support they, too, can go for greatness.
Enabling New Day-to-Day Experiences
This is the New Normal
Where and What We Can Learn from Collapse
- I had seven consecutive black slides that looked like one slide with the auto-transition. This allowed my story to flow without sticking to a rigid format. (Hey, I’m an entrepreneur – I disrupt things.)
- Rehearse, rehearse, rehearse. My friends in the acting world pushed me to rehearse… a lot. Happy they did as I didn’t struggle at all in the talk. Everything flowed real well and natural.
- Write a script, rehearse the script, but don’t follow the script. I wrote down word-for-word what I wanted to say. However, I didn’t once recite the script verbatim. I just let my mind speak with whatever it wanted to as long as the message was clear and the point was clear.
- Prepare for post-talk questions. There was 5 minutes following the talk for Q&A. I forgot to prepare for potential questions, and though, I knew my answers, I could’ve answered more succinctly.
- People really pulled in when I shared a vulnerable moment. Given I was talking about a very passionate, sore subject, I did get choked up at one point. My book’s collaborator, Don Pottinger, suggested this, and I’m glad I listened to him. The result was my story resonating really well with the audience.
- ALWAYS consider the audience. As speakers, our talks were our products. Our market was the audience made up of those in technology, startups, and those completely foreign to technology. This meant our messages needed to be adjusted to be easily understood by everyone (read: don’t get too technical).
It was such a fun experience speaking, and I hope to do many more in the future. Stay tuned!
|Just because a few doors are closed, doesn’t mean one won’t open later. (image source: http://cdn.h3sean.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/05/Closed-doors1-300×197.jpg)|
|Dictionary.com’s definition of “Defining Moment“|
Consistency – it’s what separates the good from the great.
Details – it’s also what separates the good from the great.
Be Aggressive. B-E Aggressive.
If you’re not confident, you’re not going anywhere.
Bad outcomes don’t mean bad outcomes forever… and short-term memory is great.
|Reflecting posthumously… Source: http://news.bbcimg.co.uk/media/images/64480000/jpg/_64480391_sunset_rocks.jpg|
“My contention, in fact, is that they [startups] fail because they never get to product/market fit.” – Marc Andreessen
- Capture data, and you can start to see a story. For us, it was poor product-market fit at the beginning which could be explained, largely, by a lot of hubris on our part (we thought we could be like Steve Jobs and tell coaches what they really wanted) and by poor customer discovery up front.
- Speed kills… or rather, lack of speed. If I could, I would’ve funded the team so everyone could be full-time on Body Boss, and thus, no other distractions of full-time employment elsewhere. Without distractions, perhaps we could have churned out the right features and user experience [quicker] to reach closer and closer to product-market fit.
- Have Empathy and Let the Currents Take You. As I mentioned above, there were many moments we, as a team, failed to listen to our customers. We naively believed we knew the better way to do things. We lacked empathy, and even though the market was trying to pull us in the right direction, we didn’t let it. When enough of the market tells you to move one way, you have to put aside your ideals for the greater good.
- Failure/ quitting is always an option. I don’t want to say “quitting” is always a bad thing, because sometimes, it’s the right thing. Like I said before, I could be blinded by what I believe is there. That’s why having a great team is important, too… to not just say, “YES” to everything I say, but to challenge me.
- Regret is a damned thing that can haunt you, but you have to move on. The experience with Body Boss has taught me a great deal on startups, about building a team, and much more documented in the 21 Lessons Learned. However, in corporate settings, a failure is a failure. In startups, failure is called experience. Embracing the lessons learned will give me great hope for the future.
|(Image source: jewschool.com)|
- 8 founders I would qualify went into full-time gigs with seemingly non-startup companies including many at Apple and Google
- Many cited regaining confidence and stability as a for joining a full-time role at a non-startup company. One described the failure experience as “traumatic” to the extent he questioned his skills and capabilities. He needed a place to rebuild his confidence.
- 8 founders went immediately into some consulting or contract work. Many cited reasons including having flexible hours to the extent that they worked half-time. The other “half-time” was spent on side projects
- A couple of the founders made note of the incredible stress the startup life took on their personal lives to the extent that their relationships ended either in divorce or otherwise. Interestingly, one of them got back together with his then girlfriend and married after the startup’s initial failure
- Several founders mentioned the people involved as a reason for the failure of their startups from co-founders to employees. On the flipside, there were a number of founders who mentioned they would or have start a new company with their former co-founder
- Cultural insight – one founder in Germany mentioned how difficult it was to regain some stability after his startup’s failure. In German culture, much weight is put on success and respect, and from failing in a startup, it was hard for customers, colleagues, etc. to accept this reality or trust him
- Cultural insight – one founder in India mentioned how he was buried in debt to the extent that all profits were made to pay down interest to his lenders. In India when borrowing for business, many borrow from friends and family (close and distant). This can dramatically raise the interest with the number of borrows
- HackerNews has a very much technical-heavy audience, but at least two of the founders mentioned their complete lack of technical know-how in their startup. Following the demise of their startups, these founders learned how to program to build MVPs including one founding a new startup as a technical co-founder
- In trying to decipher what people were explicitly and implicitly saying, at least 23 of the founders said they would start or had already started another company; 4 founders I couldn’t figure out if they would (categorized these as maybes); and the remaining 5 founders as most probably not interested in starting another.
“Someone may be a good developer, designer, or co-worker…but that doesn’t mean they will make a good co-founder. I learned this the hard way..and it was painful” – paulhauggis
“All I can say is: Know your founders. I’d go far as to focus on their personal situation, like their risk tolerance, their “philosophy”, their personal attachments, etc. The goal for a company is not to save the world, but to make money for you and your partners. If any personal attachment can get in the way, like “saving the world”, or “keeping control of the company”, it will. My major failure was not seeing this.” – bigpeopleareold
“A startup is a ship at sea in a storm, I wanted to experience a boat in harbour for a while.” – buro9
“The nice thing about having knowledge and experience is that oftentimes it shortens the time required to realize you’re making a mistake.” – nostrademons
“Focus on one thing , become incredibly good at it. […] Focus on customers and trust yourself on giving value , customer insight is better than customer need.” – appreneur
|Another Daryl Lu original (powered by Microsoft PowerPoint)|
Okay, if I were to really pursue the dream that made me happiest, I’d be fighting my way into Jurgen Klinsman’s squad for the World Cup coming up on Thursday. (!!!!!!!!!! Super stoked about this!) But I’m not because there’s a gap in skill (maybe) and of course, the cost-benefit ratio/ opportunity costs to think about. There’s a graphic out there on the interwebs describing the crux of what most everyone falls into…