My willingness to fail gives me the ability to succeed. — Vinod Khosla
September 21, 2016
Lessons From The Startup Factory: Are You Doing Something Worth Failing At?
A TSF portfolio founder shares what he learned from the accelerator and seed fund's four-year run.
Chris, Dave and Lizzy of The Startup Factory have each been an integral part of my startup and of many that call the Triangle home.
As you’ve probably heard, they’re shutting the fund down after several good years. And so I wanted to take the time to write about all that they’ve accomplished and reflect upon the lessons we can continue to learn from the way they’ve run the fund and served as the cornerstone of our now vibrant community.
There will be plenty of time for the post-mortem later, but questions always linger for anyone who experiences failure. Did we pick the right business model? Did we have a deep enough network in San Francisco and New York? Did we attract the best talent? Did we spend money on the right things?
I think Chris, Dave and Lizzy each will take the time to figure out what exactly they’ll take away as learnings. For now they’re leaving a healthy and growing portfolio and community behind them and can feel proud of what they accomplished in a short time. I hope we all bid them ‘job well done’ as they head on to new adventures.
Do Something Worth Failing At
The world is a better place because TSF did its thing. Investing in startups, like founding them, is an exhausting and uncertain business. But if you fail in either endeavor, the worth of your efforts is measured not by whether you succeeded but about how many big shots you took and how many wins you racked up along the way.
This is something I think we all can learn from TSF’s run: everything worth doing could fail. No one, no idea, is guaranteed success. The big question that we have to answer, and that TSF got right, is this: is what you’re doing worth failing at? If so, build your fort, leave it all on the field and if you fail, fail gracefully.
Thanks to TSF and everyone else who’s invested in this community, there will be plenty of us around to celebrate your wins, dust you off and help you get on to what’s next. And you can be sure we’ll be there to celebrate your successes when your hard work pays off.