Saturday, September 28, 2013

What am I missing?

Having helmed a couple startup failures, I'm often skeptical about success stories and what they can teach me about my next endeavor.

This excellent article on Survivorship Bias (recently shared by @vallor with FooCamp alum) is a smart reminder to keep asking, "what am I missing?"

http://youarenotsosmart.com/2013/05/23/survivorship-bias/

When we launched a big data startup called Swivel in 2006, we scored a lot of press from TechCrunch, New York Times, Financial Times, Nature and others. But only one person covered our failure, a blogger from Charlotte, North Carolina.

The failure article has all the useful wisdom http://eagereyes.org/criticism/the-rise-and-fall-of-swivel, whereas the mainstream media never followed-up to capture what went wrong.

Today, 7 years after launching Swivel, I get calls from smart entrepreneurs entering the big data space not because Swivel was a success but because they came across the failure blog post and want to learn more.

While unorthodox, understanding the Survivorship Bias and looking around for lessons of failure is a great aid in covering your blind spots.

It might be worth a few minutes of your time to Google for failures in your market and reach out to some losers.

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