Tell us your stories of Failure in 100 words
Bruce took the full force of the boxing glove to the side of his face. He fell to the floor of the ring. He heard the ref counting. Everything was a blur for a moment until his vision cleared. Then he saw his opponent pumping the crowd with the same glove he’d knocked Bruce down with. And there, he saw it, a slight limp, he’d never seen it before. At the last second he rose.
Sweat in his eyes, his opponent was unable to recover when he feinted, the limp handicapping him. Bruce took advantage, and floored him. Knock out!
Dieter laid in the rubble, sights down the clear line of sight between derelict cars to the brick building. Charlie should at any moment throw a lure there, attracting the zombies into the killbox. Everyone had reported being in position. The blinking red light appeared, accompanied by a loud beeping. The first zombies appeared, but before Deiter could fire, he felt the dead stepping on him. His radio beeped.
“Sorry, be at my spot in a moment, had to leave for a second”
It was Frank, tasked to cover Dieter’s back.
Dieter felt teeth in his skin.
“You there Dieter?”
Great stories about ALMOST failing….
Posted by Sahil Lavingia in Entrepreneurship, Startups on 14 December 2010
There are quite a few commonalities that occur in multiple – maybe even the majority – startup stories. One of them is accidents that occur and lead to pivots that in turn create disruptive companies. The Point (Groupon’s predecessor) is a prime example of this. Another is Twitter, which started off as a purely SMS-based service. Underdogs against 300-lb gorillas are pretty frequent too. However, one of the things most shocking to me is how some pretty amazing companies have also come so close to failure.
Airbnb is my go-to story. I won’t bore you with the story, but they lived off of cereal for a shitty three months (I would have given up in their position, honestly). Now they’re worth tens – if not hundreds – of millions of dollars.
Fedex almost went out of business. Fred Smith convinced its employees to work for a fraction of their normal wages and then put all of the money in the bank on a bet in Vegas. It paid off and now Fedex is doing pretty damn well.
Apple almost failed. I don’t really need to summarize this, right?
Google almost sold for a cool million dollars to Excite. They got rejected (ha, rejects!) and Google’s now the most awesome company ever.
I’d argue that very few companies had a clear path of success from day one.
Just think, one less day of shutting-the-fuck-up-and-working or one more mistake and some of today’s great companies would not exist. If Airbnb didn’t resort to cereal, or if the bet Fred Smith of Fedex made went the other way, they wouldn’t exist. The industries they’ve changed would suck.
More depressingly, these “success stories” are known because they worked out. Think about all the companies that could be existing right now that don’t because something went wrong. So if you think your company’s doomed, realize that you’re probably not nearly in the situation that Airbnb (or tens of other companies) were, man it up and keep going. And maybe you’ll be the next big thing – with a great story to tell!
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