“QUITTING, SUCKING, and failingyour way to a better life”http://www.about.me/michaelrwolfe!@michaelrwolfe!michael.wolfe@st...
fAILURE & MEFAILURE & CULTUREFAILURE & YOU
FAILURE AND ME!I often QUIT!!I often SUCK!!I often FAIL!!
My Career!Four startups and acouple big companies!!Founder, VP Engineering,EIR, CEO!!Investing, advising andmentoring!!
QUITTING!I quit several good jobs!!Several pivots!!I shut one company down!
SUCKING!Small teams, noresources!!Roles we didn’t knowhow to do!!No domain expertise!
FAILING!One company failed!!The rest had near-death experiences!!All had high likelihoodof failure!!!
RESULT!Very rapid learning!!Great times, amazing teams!!One IPO, two acquisitions!!Maintained family life,sports, travel, ...
CONNECTING THE DOTSEverything good was becauseof failure!!Every regret came from a fearof failure!
FAILURE AND CULTURE
OUR MODEL of the worldCLEAR AUTHORITY!!!KNOWN PROBLEMS!!!DEFINED CRITERIA!!!
CHILDHOODCLEAR AUTHORITY!Parents!!KNOWN PROBLEMS!Be good, sit up straight,do your chores!!DEFINED CRITERIA!Praise, rewards!!
SCHOOLCLEAR AUTHORITY!Teachers!!KNOWN PROBLEMS!Math, reading, writing,language!!DEFINED CRITERIA!Right and wronganswers, g...
SPORTSCLEAR AUTHORITY!Coaches!!KNOWN PROBLEMS!Football, basketball,athletics!!DEFINED CRITERIA!Skills, strength, winsand l...
WORKCLEAR AUTHORITY!Bosses!!KNOWN PROBLEMS!Well-understoodmarkets, customers,products!!DEFINED CRITERIA!Deadlines, quotas!!
SOMETIMES IT is the right model!!!!!!!You don’t want these folks to !QUIT, SUCK, and FAIL!
BUT NOT FOR INNOVATIONCustomer, product,market unknown!Solutions found viatrial and error!Small, inexperienced,teams!Most ...
FOR EXAMPLEQuit school, quit jobs!!Poor management skillsinitially!!Failed projects!!Near-death experiences!
TAKEAWAYAcceptance of failure is thesingle most importantattribute of a startupecosystem and itsparticipants!
FAILURE AND YOU
GO to failcon√	  
PLEASE JUST STOP THIS“Thatseems likesuch a timewaster”!“They willnever makemoney”!“Companieswill nevertrust that”!“That te...
“LIVE in the future”•  Smartphones !•  Cheap tablets!•  Wearables!•  Robotics!•  3D printing !•  Self driving cars!•  Onli...
EMBRACE YOUTHIf you are young, jump in – don’t wait!!Give young people real authority!!No “paying your dues”!
quit, suck, and failIf you aren’t growing, quit!!Be willing to suck!!Risk failure!
CREDITS & RECOMMENDED READING“Lean Startup”!- Eric Ries!“Little Bets”!- Peter Sims!“Be a learn it all” !- Bill Gurley blog...
QUESTIONS?http://www.about.me/michaelrwolfe!@michaelrwolfe!michael.wolfe@stanfordalumni.org!!
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Failcon Zurich 2013

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These are the slides from I talk I gave at Failcon Zurich 2013. http://failcon.ch/

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Failcon Zurich 2013

  1. 1. “QUITTING, SUCKING, and failingyour way to a better life”http://www.about.me/michaelrwolfe!@michaelrwolfe!michael.wolfe@stanfordalumni.org!!
  2. 2. fAILURE & MEFAILURE & CULTUREFAILURE & YOU
  3. 3. FAILURE AND ME!I often QUIT!!I often SUCK!!I often FAIL!!
  4. 4. My Career!Four startups and acouple big companies!!Founder, VP Engineering,EIR, CEO!!Investing, advising andmentoring!!
  5. 5. QUITTING!I quit several good jobs!!Several pivots!!I shut one company down!
  6. 6. SUCKING!Small teams, noresources!!Roles we didn’t knowhow to do!!No domain expertise!
  7. 7. FAILING!One company failed!!The rest had near-death experiences!!All had high likelihoodof failure!!!
  8. 8. RESULT!Very rapid learning!!Great times, amazing teams!!One IPO, two acquisitions!!Maintained family life,sports, travel, sabbaticals!!
  9. 9. CONNECTING THE DOTSEverything good was becauseof failure!!Every regret came from a fearof failure!
  10. 10. FAILURE AND CULTURE
  11. 11. OUR MODEL of the worldCLEAR AUTHORITY!!!KNOWN PROBLEMS!!!DEFINED CRITERIA!!!
  12. 12. CHILDHOODCLEAR AUTHORITY!Parents!!KNOWN PROBLEMS!Be good, sit up straight,do your chores!!DEFINED CRITERIA!Praise, rewards!!
  13. 13. SCHOOLCLEAR AUTHORITY!Teachers!!KNOWN PROBLEMS!Math, reading, writing,language!!DEFINED CRITERIA!Right and wronganswers, grades!!
  14. 14. SPORTSCLEAR AUTHORITY!Coaches!!KNOWN PROBLEMS!Football, basketball,athletics!!DEFINED CRITERIA!Skills, strength, winsand losses!!
  15. 15. WORKCLEAR AUTHORITY!Bosses!!KNOWN PROBLEMS!Well-understoodmarkets, customers,products!!DEFINED CRITERIA!Deadlines, quotas!!
  16. 16. SOMETIMES IT is the right model!!!!!!!You don’t want these folks to !QUIT, SUCK, and FAIL!
  17. 17. BUT NOT FOR INNOVATIONCustomer, product,market unknown!Solutions found viatrial and error!Small, inexperienced,teams!Most fail,!winners are huge!
  18. 18. FOR EXAMPLEQuit school, quit jobs!!Poor management skillsinitially!!Failed projects!!Near-death experiences!
  19. 19. TAKEAWAYAcceptance of failure is thesingle most importantattribute of a startupecosystem and itsparticipants!
  20. 20. FAILURE AND YOU
  21. 21. GO to failcon√  
  22. 22. PLEASE JUST STOP THIS“Thatseems likesuch a timewaster”!“They willnever makemoney”!“Companieswill nevertrust that”!“That teamhas noexperience”!
  23. 23. “LIVE in the future”•  Smartphones !•  Cheap tablets!•  Wearables!•  Robotics!•  3D printing !•  Self driving cars!•  Online universities !•  Crowdsourcing!These will impact you – get in front of it  
  24. 24. EMBRACE YOUTHIf you are young, jump in – don’t wait!!Give young people real authority!!No “paying your dues”!
  25. 25. quit, suck, and failIf you aren’t growing, quit!!Be willing to suck!!Risk failure!
  26. 26. CREDITS & RECOMMENDED READING“Lean Startup”!- Eric Ries!“Little Bets”!- Peter Sims!“Be a learn it all” !- Bill Gurley blog!Blog & “StartupOwner’s Manual”!- Steve Blank!“How to get startup ideas”!- Paul Graham Blog!
  27. 27. QUESTIONS?http://www.about.me/michaelrwolfe!@michaelrwolfe!michael.wolfe@stanfordalumni.org!!
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