Failure Is Feedback: How 5 Billionaires had To Fail To Succeed

Every success book, seminar or life coach available can tell you that failure is simply a stepping stone towards success. And they’re right...

Every success book, seminar or life coach available can tell you that failure is simply a stepping stone towards success. And they’re right. It is. But that simple piece of information won’t assist you to. Information is power only if applied in real-life situations. In this case, that means being able to view failure for the purpose it actually is: feedback.

You then simply extract different lessons from that feedback and you’re moving toward success. That sounds easier than it happens to be. Everybody gets distracted by the day-to-day drama of training, family or friends. It’s all to easy to forget the basic rules and seem like a failure after something doesn’t exercise, particularly in business.

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Failure Beats You Up

It’s the habitual first ‘instinct’ to feel disappointed in yourself once the start-up you’ve invested a lot in fails. After this kind of defeat, you couldn’t care less in regards to the mantra failure equals feedback that those ‘success gurus’ keep chanting. It’s understandable. But allow me to show you some real-life examples which will actually prove that that very mantra holds true.

Here are 5 giant entrepreneurial figures (whose net worth in total comes in at around $90 billion approximately) who didn’t succumb facing early failure, but enjoyed and appreciated it to the lessons heeded. And they aren’t afraid to admit it.

FunBug - Nick Woodman

Net Worth $1,750,000,000

Nick was obviously a ‘B student’ during college as well as an avid surfer, a spare time activity which often times interfered together with his studies. He wasn’t born a billionaire. Before creating the now wildly successful model of wearable cameras - GoPro, he failed in great style with two online startups throughout the crazed dotcom bubble of 2000.

The Failures

First, he created, an e-commerce site aimed at a young demographic which sold inexpensive electronics. The company didn’t make any profit, in order that it was quickly de-activate. That didn’t drive our future billionaire out of your business arena; it drove him to use harder, so in 1999 he create FunBug, an online marketing company.

The site gave users the opportunity to win cash prizes to acquire participating in sweepstakes. It was marketing through games. He even managed to raise $3.9 million in funding from different investors. The company was going up, but by 2001, Nick had to admit failure yet again. He wasn’t in a position to create a sustainable user base from which to drive profit via the companies he was marketing.

Here’s what he was quoted saying to Forbes about failing the 2nd time and losing almost $4 million dollars:

"I mean nobody loves to fail, though the worst thing was I lost my investors’ money and these were folks that believed in this young guy which was passionate about this idea… you start out to question: are my ideas great?"

The Lesson

After losing the 2nd company, Nick cleared his head by going on a surf trip, a long one. Once back, he started working on a prototype for any camera which can be used by athletes: GoPro.

I was so afraid that GoPro would go away like Funbug that I would work my ass off. That’s what the first boom and bust did personally. I was scared that I would fail again that I was totally dedicated to succeed.’

Only on this occasion, there was no bust, just the boom. GoPro made him one of several youngest billionaires on the globe, along with the owner from the fastest-growing camera company in America.

Traf-O-Data - Bill Gates

Net Worth $72,700,000,000

Before being the richest person on earth and owning Xanadu 2.0 (the ‘Bill Gates House’), a computerized residence with real-time adjustable temperature, music and lightining for each pin-wearing guest, Bill Gates was obviously a failing entrepreneur.

The Failure

His first company was Traf-O-Data, the aim of which was ‘to browse the raw data from roadway traffic counters that will create reports for traffic engineers‘. In this way, the corporation would optimize traffic and end road congestion.

The company’s product was the Traf-O-Data 8008, a device which could read traffic tapes and process the information. They first tried to sell the processing plan to the local County, but their first demo failed since the machine ‘didn’t work’, recalled Gates.

The Lesson

His partner, Paull Allen, summarised the ability for just what it was: ‘Even though Traf-O-Data wasn’t a roaring success, it had been seminal in preparing us to produce Microsoft’s first product a couple of years later’

And happily, that’s precisely what they did. They kept on going and Microsoft became the largest personal-computer software company on the globe. But it’s still nice to learn that the richest philanthropist in the world can make business blunders.

Dyson - James Dyson

Net Worth $3,000,000,000

Most people think inventors are born inventors, with a few special talent or gift. Their genetic makeup must be different than those of us mere mortals. But in fact, the opposite is valid. Inventors are made; they’re ‘grinders’.

Sir James Dyson’s company is now an internationally success, selling bag-less vacuum cleaners in 50 countries. It made him a billionaire. But he were required to fail very often before they can get to that winning formula.

The Failure

In fact, he created 5127 vacuum prototypes, all of which could be considered ‘failed attempts’. He spent many years perfecting his product before you take the DCO1 to advertise in ’93. The vacuum conditions his own patented principle of cyclonic separation, that’s why it doesn’t require a bag. This innovation took a great deal of dedication:

‘There are countless times an inventor can give up on an idea. By the time I made my 15th prototype, my third child was given birth to. By 2,627, my wife and I were really counting our pennies. By 3,727, my spouse was giving art lessons for a lot of extra cash. These were a down economy, but each failure brought me nearer to solving the problem.’

With such relentless drive despite failures and hardships, how could Dyson not be described as a billionaire? I dare say, no matter other business however have started, he’d be successful. That’s what dedication gets you.

The Lesson

True inventors will be the biggest failing lot you could encounter. And that’s a compliment. Failing could be the only way by which you can create something new. But real inventors, they don’t even call it ‘failing’. As Thomas Edison famously put it:‘I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 techniques won’t work.’ Sir James Dyson, the founder in the Dyson Company really took this principle to heart.

So if you want to create anything, the way you view your failed attempts will decide whether you’re gonna succeed.

Apple - Steve Jobs

Net Worth $10,200,000,000

We all know Steve Jobs because Guru entrepreneur, the genius behind best-selling products such because the iPod, iPad, the iPhone or the MacBook. He will be the most influential business figure of our serious amounts of he’s going to be forever reminded since the Da Vinci individuals tech-world renaissance.

The Failure

What we realize less of is Steve are his nothing-burger creations. Believe it or not, Apple was producing exactly that at one time. Remember the Lisa? Of course not. Steve were able to waste huge amount of money in development to make such mass amnesia. It would happen to be cheaper to simply hypnotize every customer around.

He were built with a track-record with this sort of thing, considering that in the previous Apple dud episode, he and partner Steve Wozniak invested their savings and time in the Apple I, which sold a not-so-impressive 175 units. But it turned out the Lisa development fiasco which got Steve Jobs kicked out of the business he founded.

Applying the principle ‘failure is just feedback’, Jobs went on to create another company: NeXT. That company also met its demise, because of hardware issues inside the product. Eventually the software program division was sold to Apple, and Steve returned to his starting point.

The Lesson

But now, armed with so many failures, Jobs was more determined than ever before to succeed. His dream of creating ‘a company which will still stand for something a generation or two from now‘ much like ‘Walt Disney did, and Hewlett and Packard, and the people who built Intel‘ was finally likely to manifest.

Ask yourself this: What if Steve had stopped? How would the world be different now?

Read Also: Where These Internet Pioneers Got Their Names

Virgin’s Richard Branson

Net Worth $4,600,000,000

Richard Branson really sold on the ‘failure principle’. He made it work to where he’s one of several most well-known entrepreneurs in the world. The Virgin Brand is one of several most recognizable brands available, carrying a great deal of weight, especially thanks to Richard’s charming persona and televised adventures.

The Failures

But if you meet him in the teens, you wouldn’t really bet on his later success. Branson had poor reading and math skills, dropped away from high-school and is proud to admit he’s dyslexic all his life. Not really your first choice for the billionaire philanthropist knight and worldwide media icon.

But this person, along with his perfect 59-year old blonde hair and dazzling mumbling charm didn’t also have a hold over an empire of 400 companies. His first business endeavor, the Student Magazine which he started when he was 16, had difficulties with, believe it or not, the UK’s law enforcement agencies. Richard almost went to jail for publishing remedies for veneral disease within the magazine.

It didn’t stop there. His Virgin record shops, in the midst of cash-flow problems, almost put him in jail again. This time it absolutely was for something more serious: tax evasion. After spending one night in prison, the plea bargain for £60,000 was paid.

The experience, while he recalls, had a big impact on him: ‘I vowed to myself that I would never again do anything that would cause me being imprisoned or, indeed, inflict kind of business deal that could embarrass me.’

The trend of failures however maintained going for him for up to his entire life: Virgin Cola (for that they drove a fish tank in Times Square), Virgin Vodka, Virgin Vie, Virgin Brides (for that she dressed up as a bride), Virgin Clothing, Virgin Cars, Virgin Digital all failed. And the list could go on for an extended time.

The Lesson

I guess you could say Branson may be the king from the entrepreneurship club, based on his definition: ‘Learn from failure. If you are an entrepreneur and your first venture wasn’t a success, here you are at the club!’

So, Failure is Feedback!


The fact with the matter is most in the people the thing is that in Forbes’ listing of richest people on the globe had to take enormous risks to get there. That almost always means a great deal of failing. I know it’s an easy task to put on tag around the rich and say: They had it easy. It’s their parents. They were lucky. It’s probably secret societies or reincarnation. Or maybe alien control.

You will find a dozen why you should internalize somebody else’s success as ‘luck’ or ‘special access to information’. The reality is 73 out from the first 100 billionaires on the globe are self-made. That’s a Bloomberg fact. There’s no conspiracy going on. They just continue to work harder than you did.

Those self-made billionaires simply applied some core, fundamental knowledge everyone else has access to. They did what everyone only read about. But knowing and doing are very different things. Failure and success are extremely similar in this they’re both spiral staircases. Once you can get on, inertia keeps you going, and adds some dizziness on the process. Stop failure’s spiral by seeing it as feedback or you’re going to go deeper and ultimately crash and burn.

So precisely what are you gonna do the next occasion you fail? Give up? Or get to be the next billionaire?

Related posts:

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  2. 10 Skills You Need To Succeed Working On The Web

  3. 3 Skills You Need To Succeed In Freelance Writing

  4. How Simple Trust-Building Practices Can Make Your Business Grow



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