Failure’s Lessons


I’ve always been a keen believer that the lessons of failure are often more instructive than those of success.  One tends to take personal credit for good outcomes regardless of their origin, and assign bad outcomes to some outside event.  So it’s been fascinating — and invaluable — to see a number of entrepreneurs and companies come forward with their personal tales of failure in the belief that others can learn from their errors.

First is a substantive review of the rivalry between Wasabe and Mint.  Similar websites with a focus on personal financial information, the former had almost a year’s head-start but eventually shut down while the latter was acquired for $170M. The worst of times and the best of times — Wasabe’s CEO details what happened. Next is a summary of how Y Combinator-backed NewsTile hit the dead pool, and the decision to shutter BracaBox. Not all failures are innocent, as noted in a summary of the financial improprities at cMoney, nor are they limited to start-ups, seen in an insightful post of the ongoing struggles at Yahoo.

Many VCs look to see if an entrepreneur has the scars — and substantial lessons — from failure, with the belief that the failure itself is less important than what one might have learned. And since the value of failure is not enough to justify its deliberate pursuit, to really wallow in the misery of others, here are the autopsies of 25 failed start-ups.

EntrepreneursAlexander Ooms