Speed matters – especially in learning from failures

Sandeep Murthy
2nd May 2014

Failure is one of those things that is inevitable when you stick yourself out there… especially when you are young.

My last post talked about inspiration and the amazing feats that can be accomplished when you can scale ideals across an organization. Today, I'm going to take an entrepreneur's familiar ground of failure. Failure is one of those things that is inevitable when you stick yourself out there... especially when you are young. The thing though is how you deal with it. We all know that idea that failure is the best learning experience and all that kind of stuff, but the reality is when you have failed, the last thing you are thinking about is learning. The opportunity to learn is fantastic, but the only thing you can think about at that point is "how the hell did I let this happen, I can't believe how I didn't see this coming, I should have done this or that" and the worst of all "maybe all those people who said I was crazy for trying this were right". Having failed, and failed big young, I can safely say I wasted a lot of time in that world of anguish... that being said, after a few months of that, I finally did reflect on things and did take away learnings that have been invaluable.

In our fast paced world, the speed at which you are able to move through the cycles makes all of the difference... so I am all for failing and learning, but the key is to get over the failure, learn from it and move forward - FAST.

One of the biggest challenges I have had to deal with was when my first startup failed. I was 24 years old and I went from being cofounder and CEO of a high growth, Silicon Valley company to being an unemployed failure. It was very humbling and something that I struggled with for a while, but when I finally came to terms with the situation and got back into the startup game, I found that I had learnt so much that I was now even better equipped to tackle the next opportunity. This experience helped solidify an underlying optimism that is essential in my work with start-ups. This optimism helped me get through the tough early days at both Cleartrip and InMobi, which have since both turned out to be fantastic successes.

Image by Picard