30 April 2009

On Learning to Fail Fast

The best advice I've heard all week? Learn to fail fast.

A couple of weeks ago, in this blog I was wrestling with the question of whether my idea for a green investing platform was a failure or not.

After a few conversations with advisory board members and investors, I realized that I need to give myself permission to declare this idea a failure -- for now -- and move on. Why?

Everyone I talked to says the investing climate is the worst they've ever seen. Deals are taking longer, money is staying on the sidelines, and valuations are completely out of whack.

As I understand it, deals that took two months are now taking six or nine, while many investors play a waiting game. This just exacerbates the slowing rate at which deals can get done and makes it difficult for entrepreneurs to close deals.

And for an idea like mine, which is really still in its infancy, the current climate makes it nearly impossible to get the jump start it needs.

Then I came across Brad Feld's post of a couple of nights ago, on Mark Pincus and the concept of failing fast.

If you haven't read this piece or watched Pincus's interview on Vator.tv, do yourself a favor and go do so now.

It doesn't matter whether you are working on a start-up, a business unit in a big company, a social enterprise, or developing a product, the advice is golden: learn to fail fast and learn from the experience.

I'll be back with another idea and will be, as Feld says in his post, "super-extraordinary-amazingly hungry for a success."