Category Archives: Failure

Failure from the Entrepreneur Point of View

Isn’t failures what makes entrepreneurs grow? The attitude of “Yes, this failed. Lets try it this way now.”. We see what is not working, and we are willing to pivot to try new things.

We value our time and know we have to learn from our failures to not waste that valuable resource. As Soichoro Honda did in a previous blog, he went and learned from his initial mistakes. Thomas Edison could have felt like a failure at a young age, but his mother nourished his education which allowed him to create great things to change our life even to this day.

We also apreciate the Albert Enstein quote of “Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”. We know we must tweak our approaches and learn from our failures to reach our highest goals.

Failure – Edison

Thomas Edison was another failure. Only lasted three months of official schooling due to his wandering mind, and his teacher felt he was “addled”. His mother then took over his education and taught him at home. He then developed hearing problems at an early age.

This addled young man grew up to have 1,093 patents in his name as well as creating the phonograph, motion picture camera, and a practical light bulb.
When asked about failing at making the light bulb so many times before success, “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”.

Failure – Honda

Timeline for Soichiro Honda, the found of Honda

— 1937 worked as a mechanic but decided to get financing from an acquaintance and founded a company to make piston rings. After a few initial failures, the company he founded won a contract to supply piston rings to Toyota but lost it due to poor quality. After this, he attended engineering school (did not graduate) and visited factories to understand Toyota’s quality process.

— 1941, Honda was able to mass-produce piston rings acceptable to Toyota using automated processes even for the “unskilled wartime laborers”.

— WW II found Honda’s company taken over, demotion from president after Toyota bought 40% of company, and he had to aid the war effort by working with other factories on automation. His own factories were bombed, and he sold what was left to Toyota.

— 1946, he founded Honda Technical Research Institute with a staff of 12 working in a “shack”. They started building “motorized bicycles” with purchased engines. When they ran out of purchased engines, they started building their own.

How about that for failures and an “overnight success”? Poor quality overcome only to have factories bombed and selling the remaining parts of his original dream to only go in a totally different direction and produce what is now motorcycles.

Celebrating Failures

Last night, I went to a workout class that I had not done in years with my youngest. She has always been interested in it, so I took her to experience it. Since it has been 10+ years for me, I am feeling the aches today.

As entrepreneurs, we know we have to keep mind, body, & spirit in sync. It is not all about work but also about keeping our perspective. Needless to say with such an absence, I felt like a failure in class.

We know we are going to have failures. In a daily podcasts that I listen too (, the interviewer, John Lee Dumas, will ask the various entreprenurial interviewees a failure that they had and how they got through it.

Entrepreneurs will see failures, and we are not afraid of it. We know as the risks are high, but the success will be even more lofty. If it was easy, everyone would be doing it.