The importance of failure

The story goes that “Thomas Edison failed more than 1,000 times when trying to create the light bulb”. When asked about these failures,Edison allegedly said, “I have not failed 1,000 times.  I havesuccessfully discovered 1,000 ways to NOT make a light bulb.”

Here’s a more modern quote:
The very first company I started failed with a great bang. The second one failed a little bit less, but still failed. The third one, you know, proper failed, but it was kind of okay. I recovered quickly. Number four almost didn’t fail. It still didn’t really feel great, but it did okay. Number five was PayPal.”–Max Levchin

I once remember reading a book about someone interviewing a room pack of millionaires. He asked them how many times these people have failed before their first million. The average was fifteen, FIFTEEN major failures. Some succeeded with less failures and some with more, but on average fifteen.

I think for every entrepreneur that wants to succeed he or she must be willing to fail a couple times. In my mind, the biggest failure of all is giving up entirely after all that invaluable knowledge was gained through painful failure. This is why many entrepreneurs say persistence is key, because with every succession of failure you increase your odds of succeeding.

Below is a link of Vinod Khosla talking about the importance of failure and the Sillicon Valley culture of failure:

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