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How to Succeed at Failing by Josh Coates

How to Succeed at Failing by Josh Coates



How to Succeed at Failing (sort of) by Josh Coates presented at #StartupGrind 2013

How to Succeed at Failing (sort of) by Josh Coates presented at #StartupGrind 2013



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    How to Succeed at Failing by Josh Coates How to Succeed at Failing by Josh Coates Presentation Transcript

    • How to succeed atfailing.(Sort of.)Josh Coates
    • The Winter of Our DiscontentAll right, I know now where I want to go. How do I getthere, and where are lurking rocks and what will theweather be?I called out to old Cap’n. “Shall I set the course, sir? Is ita good course? Will it get me there?”And for the first time he denied me his command. “You’llhave to work it out yourself. What’s good for one isbad for another, and you won’t know till after.”The old bastard might have helped me then, but perhapsit wouldn’t have made any difference.
    • "Socialism never took root inAmerica because the poor seethemselves not as an exploitedproletariat but as temporarilyembarrassed millionaires."John Steinbeck (maybe.)
    • Josh CoatesUC Berkeley CS (1992-1993, 1995-1998) NOW / Millennium Research GroupMicrosoft Research (1998) Bay Area Research Center (BARC)Inktomi (1999) Software EngineerScale Eight (1999-2003) Founder, CTO Raised $65M Series-A to C Red Herring Hot 100, Forbes, Wall Street Journal, etc. Hired 200+ employees Offices in Tokyo, London, New York, Virginia, San FranciscoInternet Archive (2003-2004) VP/Director of Engineering OperationsMozy Inc. (EMC) (2005-2008) Founder, CEO Raised $1.9M Series-A Sold to EMC for $76MInstructure (2010-Present) CEO
    • Let’s go WABAC… 1999…
    • How to fail in 4 simple steps.** YMMV. Sometimes these don’t actually work.
    • x f(x) y Context
    • Step 1: Do not define success.
    • x f(x) y
    • Not defining success will leave youat the mercy of the winds andcurrents.Everyone wants something from you: Investors Employees Family Customers your cat
    • Step 2: Believe your own lies about yourself.
    • x f(x) y
    • Dunning–Kruger effectCompetent people think they aren’t asgood as they are.Incompetent people think they are betterthan they are.Why?Poor performers do not learn fromfeedback suggesting a need to improve.
    • Step 3: Believe your own lies about your startup.
    • x f(x) y
    • Step 4: Listen to the grown ups.**This is the step that is the least useful.
    • x f(x) y
    • Stupid reasons to listen toThey are: a Harvard/Stanford MBA. rich. the CEO. on the Board. an alum of a successful company.
    • Smart reasons to listen toThey: Have done it before (failed or succeeded.) Are disinterested. Not necessarily agreeing with you.
    • BitterFounder.comGreys Law:“Any sufficiently advanced incompetenceis indistinguishable from malice.”Hanlons Razor:“Never attribute to malice that which isadequately explained by stupidity.”
    • Succeeding at MozyIn 30 months:- Petabyte storage system- 1 billion backed up files- 200,000 consumers- 3,800 businesses- 32 employees- Sold for $76 million
    • Succeeding at Instructure24 months ago:- no revenue- 12 employeesToday:- $10’s millions- 208 employees
    • aqZLearner High School WiloStar3D LLC Proprietary and Confidential
    • Q&A