Failure is a prerequisite to learning

Bambi Francisco Roizen · June 16, 2010 · Short URL:

Eric Ries talks about his mistakes and failures, and his three top principles

In this fourth part of my four-segment interview with Eric Ries, author of the "Lessons Learned" blog, Eric talks about "failure" and why it happens to all of us and is a prerequesite to learning. "Stop the success theater," he said, referring to entrepreneurs who typically look at their successes as they give advice to others. "We're in the learning business."

Eric also talks about his blindness while at IMVU, thinking that he and his colleagues could "predict the future," and the time he was "paralyzed" right before a launch of IMVU's first version. He also admits that even though he advises people to listen to customers, he often has a difficult time taking the feedback himself.

Finally, he shares his top three lessons to entrepreneurs.

Firstly, know how you measure progress. In entreprneurship, learning is progress. Secondly, the speed at which you make decisions is more important than if the decision is the right one. Thirdly, work in the smallest batch sizes because the faster you release, the faster you’ll get feedback.

And, as a teacher to entrepreneurs, what would he want them to walk away with from his lessons?

"I want people to look back at the work that they did because they thought the work they did was worthwhile... where startups are failing is because they’re using it [their startup] as a means to an end."

Be sure to watch interview No. 1 and No. 2 with Eric.

Interview 1: Eric Ries on his lean startup awakening

Interview 2: Eric Ries on his lean startup methodology

Interview 3: Eric Ries on pivots and continous deployment

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Bambi Francisco Roizen

Founder Vator, Managing Partner - Vator Investment Club; Former Columnist/correspondent Dow Jones MarketWatch; Business anchor CBS affiliate KPIX

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