Source | www.techinasia.com : By Malavika Velayanikal
Learn from your mistakes. Even better, learn from others’ mistakes. This is an oft-repeated piece of advice to startups, but it’s easier said than done. We don’t easily accept our mistakes to be able to learn from them. Nor do we find it easy to talk about them for others’ benefit.
This is especially true in a society like India, where failure isn’t worn proudly like a badge as it is in a more mature startup ecosystem like that of Silicon Valley. Last year, Failcon, a San Francisco origin conference aimed at sharing experiences of failures, got a lukewarm reception in India.
Perceptions make all the difference. If a failed founder is seen as being the stronger and wiser for it, he would happily talk about it. But if failure is seen as a sign of weakness, then it prompts reticence.
2015 is a watershed year for India, with over US$8 billion of venture capital funding expected before the year’s out – 50 percent higher than last year. This rush to invest in the newest El Dorado of tech startups has created its fair share of irrational exuberance, as half-baked business models and a plethora of copycats have got VC backing with scant attention to ground realities.
Nassim Nicholas Taleb wrote in Fooled by Randomness about how decision-makers get misled because failures are masked. This is compounded by startup founders being surrounded by yes-men who do not give honest feedback for fear of being seen as negative influences. The media contributes to this distorted reality by constantly celebrating successes and ignoring failures.
But, as the following 11 examples illustrate, there’s as much to be learned from a failure as from a success. However, beware of being “fooled by randomness.” As Taleb cautions us, there are several factors or even plain luck that we often don’t take into account when we attribute reasons for a success or failure.