Tag Archives: failure

The mystery of success and the articulation of failure

Yesterday a comment was made about why I dont interview successful founding teams instead of focusing on why founding teams split. Actually I did. I spoke at length with Sachin from Flipkart a few weeks ago as I have done several times with Amit Gupta of InMobi and Phani of Redbus and Vivek of Interview street.

Successful people are loathe to describe their success, often talking about “luck” and most often calling themselves “not yet successful”.

Those that failed, however, at anything are often able to point to 1-3 things that they believe were the reasons they did not take off.

I think its relatively easy to assume that 100 things need to go right to be successful, whereas only a few things (or in some cases 1 thing) needs to go right to be a failure.

That directly contradicts my core hypothesis that in any given startup its never one thing that causes failure but a series of things that are not executed well – back to Mark Suster’s comment about lines not dots.

I also think most people analyze failure a lot more since it hurts. That’s a contradiction as well. I ¬†would think most people would not like to think about things that are not “fond memories”. Turns out we remember bad things better because they affect our memory systems more. There’s research that suggests this to be true.

Still that does not explain why people cant articulate success as well as failure. Or am I just asking the wrong questions of the wrong people?