A lesson in startups is a lesson in life

Uncategorized Posted Jan 10, 2013 by chenpr

Last night I attended an MIT Enterprise Forum fireside chat with Katie Rae, Managing Director of Tech Stars and founder of Project 11, and Jean Hammond, investor and member of Hub Angels and Launchpad Venture Group about “What Not to Do in 2013” for startups and entrepreneurs.  I was curious as to what my own takeaways would be from an event about how to deal with failure in a startup environment, since I’m obviously not trying to launch a startup myself.

But as it turns out, the failure, rejection, and stress of running a startup is quite applicable to lessons learned in everyday life. (As a side note, I want to add that for a chat all about failure, it was surprisingly upbeat, which might be the reason behind the optimistic tone of this blog.)

Katie and Jean both pointed out that one of the primary causes of failure was poor or complete lack of communication and this point stood out to me the most. (Hmm, I wonder if that’s because I work in PR?)  Whether it’s a startup, established business, soccer team, relationship, or book club, nothing will get done without a good, open stream of communication.  So whether you’re planning the launch of the tech world’s next big thing or scheduling soccer practice – TALK, PEOPLE!   If you’re all aiming at the same finish line, it helps to make sure you’re all running the same race route.

Another piece of advice from the discussion I believe can be applied in all walks of life is, don’t be afraid to take risks.  As Katie Rae put it, “fail fast and fail often, it’s all miles on the wheels.”  I think in both business and in life, people are becoming increasingly afraid of rejection and failure.  If we all governed our lives that way we would never have Angry Birds or a guy in a Red Bull spacesuit skydiving from the stratosphere (I think that was a big story, right?).  Go skydiving, build the app, start your dream company.  A life filled with avoiding failure at all costs is far more stressful than a life filled with learning and growing from failure in order to get to your successes.