No one starts a company, hoping that it will fail. But chances are that most will. I’ve interviewed several entrepreneurs over the past few years who talk about their failed endeavors as learning experiences necessary for them to eventually find success.
My inner-cynic has often thought that seems like a good spin on a bad thing. But this recent Slate article examines the value startup failures bring to Silicon Valley’s entrepreneurial ecosystem.
There’s a reason Silicon Valley takes failure so lightly, and it has nothing to do with empathy. It’s that failure, and lots of it, is essential to the proper functioning of its economy.
The article is interesting and worth a read. The gist of that latter point is that the big companies rely on essentially outsourced innovators (read: startup founders) to run countless experiments for them. They buy up the ideas that work, and hire the people whose ideas failed. The group in the first party makes money, and the latter has a soft landing after a big leap.
But what role does failure play in place like Bend, where there may be fewer opportunities for soft landings for startup founders? I’ve heard more than one entrepreneur here say that they achieved success because failure wasn’t an option — they don’t want to move.
At the risk of sounding like an inspirational cat poster (shoot for the moon, if you miss you may land on a star) I think the more people who feel comfortable trying ideas here, the better. We want to create a place where you can not just succeed, but also fail. And then stick around to try again.