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9 Lessons To Learn From Failure

[ 0 ] Feb. 25, 2014 | SBO Editor

lessons from failure

What lessons can we learn from failure? Nine Stanford GSB alumni including Chip Conley (MBA ’84) of Joie de Vivre Hotels and Beth Cross (MBA ’88) of Ariat International open up about failure and how to move forward after difficult times. (The photo shows Bill Gates and his quote on failure.)

Lessons From Failure

I like to consider failures “noble experiments.”
—Chip Conley (MBA ’84), Founder of Joie de Vivre Hotels
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I believe you have to fail fast and be proud of your failures. If you don’t fail often, you are not trying hard enough.
Jessica Herrin, Founder and CEO of Stella & Dot
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Failing to seize opportunities. It’s the worst kind of failure.
Ian Kazi Shakil (MBA ’12), Cofounder of Augmedix
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We have small, medium, and big failures all the time. The question is: How do you handle failure when it happens? How do you handle it with your customers, your team, your shareholders? A real failure is when you make a mistake and don’t do the right thing, fix it as quickly as you can, own it, and learn from it.
Beth Cross (MBA ’88), CEO of Ariat International
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When we started University Games my cofounder and I said we have three goals: always be profitable, maintain our friendship, and have fun every day. We haven’t succeeded in having fun every day. Other than that I don’t think about failure. I’m always redefining success.
Bob Moog (MBA ’84), CEO of University Games
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I have made mistakes, but I don’t feel I need to look at life and say, “That was a failure” or “That was a success.” I don’t believe in using that language. We are all doing our best.
Jessica Jackley (MBA ’07), Cofounder of Kiva
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I don’t think about [failure].
—Lecturer Andy Rachleff (MBA ‘84), Cofounder of Wealthfront Inc
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Figuring out the balance of work and family and personal time. It’s a struggle. I tend to be heavily weighted in two of those things and the third falls by the wayside.
Jeff Fluhr, CEO of Spreecast
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My biggest failure was in business. I lost humbleness. When you have achieved success you get excited and lose insight into the future. You start to go downhill. You need to stay humble.
—Hidehiko Yuzaki (MBA ’95), Governor of Hiroshima Prefecture, Japan
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Category: Features