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Hi, I’m Brad Feld, a managing director at the Foundry Group who lives in Boulder, Colorado. I invest in software and Internet companies around the US, run marathons and read a lot.

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Famous Failures

Comments (11)

Great, inspiring video on failure.

(thanks Scott).

  • http://www.emaildashboard.com Deva Hazarika

    Not sure what this says about me, but as soon as that clip started I thought “OK, when is it going to say: cut, Michael Jordan”

  • http://www.loupaglia.com/correlate Lou Paglia

    great video. in my shared list in Google Reader.

  • http://blog.immply.com Al

    In the same spirit, review this one. Hopefully you can post this in an update so everyone can look at this as well.

    http://www.scribd.com/doc/95934/WinnersNotQuitter

  • http://www.nbarthelemy.com Nicholas Barthelemy

    Thank you for this, Brad. I find it inspiring. It seems to be a common misperception that truly successful people found the “happy path” in life and just followed it. In fact, more commonly, it is exactly the opposite. They are successful because they had the determination to persevere through adversity. I find that the most successful entrepreneurs have an extraordinary amount of determination tempered by their intelligence and experience.

  • http://www.village-elder.com/blog/ John Curry

    Brilliant video. I used to be a pretty successful juggler and one of my little proverbs has always been “At first you measure success by counting the balls you've caught, later you measure by counting the balls you've dropped as the true mark of progress”. If you reach the point where you no longer fail, you aren't pushing enough.

    This connects me mentally to the concept of what inspires people to rise to success?

    My first experience with this was how my brother and I began to play music together, and why we decided to form a 'band'. We were never inspired by greatness. We didn't listen to Eric Clapton and think, “this guy is amazing, I'm going to go practice guitar”. More often than not listening to Eric Clapton would lead to realizing that we had a very long journey ahead of us that was quite improbable.

    Instead we were inspired by mediocrity. We had received a compilation cassette tape of a dozen bands from around the world. We were inspired by an obscure band from Europe with their song “Dickerman”. The song was terrible, plodding with the sole repeating lyric “Dickerman… .Dickerman… Dickerman”. I mean this was hideous. My brother and I looked at each other knew we could do WAY better than that. It inspired us to make the first step, which lead to the second and the third, and 7 years later we had 5 albums out and a decent following in the mid-west.

    Now that I’m older and have a ‘real job’ in technology. I realize that this is also what drives a solid business plan. How can we improve our offering where our competitors have a shortcoming.

  • http://www.obsidianlaunch.com/blog Mike Michalowicz

    Wow! That's powerful. I can't believe Jordan got cut from his team.

  • todd langer

    funny thing about Jordan is that he was an absolute stud his senior year and recruited to north carolina. i've always wondered if there was another reason he got cut his junior year. on that note, lebron james was cut from his varsity high school squad as well…of course, he was only 5 years old at the time, but still….

    on a serious note, to a large degree overcoming adversity defines a person. i think rudyard kipling nailed it in his poem IF. to paraphrase, success and failure are both imposters and should be treated the same. of course, it's much easier stated than done.

  • http://www.zachlandes.com zachlandes

    My college graduation speaker was the founder of Home Depot, Bernie Marcus. The man is a billionaire and yet if you hear his life story, you see that failure, or at least discouraging roadblocks, have been essential to his story. For example, at the age of 49 (49!) he was fired. Home Depot was founded AFTER that and now has 300,000 employees – and this man is still alive! We can all learn from our failures, and I feel open discussion of them, e.g. in a personal blog, can help make the most of them.

  • http://blog.teledyn.com mrG

    Charlie Parker famously arrived at his first jam session and proceeded to play the melodic lines from the only two songs he knew against the others who were jamming on a completely different set of chord change. He was asked to leave.

    And leave he did, he locked himself to a regimen of 10 hours a day for three years, which pretty much totals up that magic figure of “10,000 hours”, and THAT completes the story untold in this video, that all these greats didn't just fail and try again, they failed, then WORKED LONG AND HARD TO IMPROVE and only THEN came back to knock 'em dead.

  • http://www.dare2baware.com dare2baware

    Very inspiring. Thank you!

  • mrG

    Charlie Parker famously arrived at his first jam session and proceeded to play the melodic lines from the only two songs he knew against the others who were jamming on a completely different set of chord change. He was asked to leave.

    And leave he did, he locked himself to a regimen of 10 hours a day for three years, which pretty much totals up that magic figure of "10,000 hours", and THAT completes the story untold in this video, that all these greats didn't just fail and try again, they failed, then WORKED LONG AND HARD TO IMPROVE and only THEN came back to knock 'em dead.

  • Al

    In the same spirit, review this one. Hopefully you can post this in an update so everyone can look at this as well.

    http://www.scribd.com/doc/95934/WinnersNotQuitter

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/lou_paglia lou_paglia

    great video. in my shared list in Google Reader.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/todd_lange31011 todd_lange31011

    funny thing about Jordan is that he was an absolute stud his senior year and recruited to north carolina. i've always wondered if there was another reason he got cut his junior year. on that note, lebron james was cut from his varsity high school squad as well…of course, he was only 5 years old at the time, but still….

    on a serious note, to a large degree overcoming adversity defines a person. i think rudyard kipling nailed it in his poem IF. to paraphrase, success and failure are both imposters and should be treated the same. of course, it's much easier stated than done.

  • zachlandes

    My college graduation speaker was the founder of Home Depot, Bernie Marcus. The man is a billionaire and yet if you hear his life story, you see that failure, or at least discouraging roadblocks, have been essential to his story. For example, at the age of 49 (49!) he was fired. Home Depot was founded AFTER that and now has 300,000 employees – and this man is still alive! We can all learn from our failures, and I feel open discussion of them, e.g. in a personal blog, can help make the most of them.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/deva_hazari2084 deva_hazari2084

    Not sure what this says about me, but as soon as that clip started I thought "OK, when is it going to say: cut, Michael Jordan"

  • John Curry

    Brilliant video. I used to be a pretty successful juggler and one of my little proverbs has always been "At first you measure success by counting the balls you've caught, later you measure by counting the balls you've dropped as the true mark of progress". If you reach the point where you no longer fail, you aren't pushing enough.

    This connects me mentally to the concept of what inspires people to rise to success?

    My first experience with this was how my brother and I began to play music together, and why we decided to form a 'band'. We were never inspired by greatness. We didn't listen to Eric Clapton and think, "this guy is amazing, I'm going to go practice guitar". More often than not listening to Eric Clapton would lead to realizing that we had a very long journey ahead of us that was quite improbable.

    Instead we were inspired by mediocrity. We had received a compilation cassette tape of a dozen bands from around the world. We were inspired by an obscure band from Europe with their song “Dickerman”. The song was terrible, plodding with the sole repeating lyric “Dickerman… .Dickerman… Dickerman”. I mean this was hideous. My brother and I looked at each other knew we could do WAY better than that. It inspired us to make the first step, which lead to the second and the third, and 7 years later we had 5 albums out and a decent following in the mid-west.

    Now that I’m older and have a ‘real job’ in technology. I realize that this is also what drives a solid business plan. How can we improve our offering where our competitors have a shortcoming.

  • Nicholas Barthelemy

    Thank you for this, Brad. I find it inspiring. It seems to be a common misperception that truly successful people found the "happy path" in life and just followed it. In fact, more commonly, it is exactly the opposite. They are successful because they had the determination to persevere through adversity. I find that the most successful entrepreneurs have an extraordinary amount of determination tempered by their intelligence and experience.

  • Mike Michalowicz

    Wow! That's powerful. I can't believe Jordan got cut from his team.

  • dare2baware

    Very inspiring. Thank you!

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    Never stop failing! I learned how to earn an income online based on failing multiple times and never giving up.

  • http://www.besthomehumidifier.com humidifier

    Never stop failing! I learned how to earn an income online based on failing multiple times and never giving up.

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