For some reason, I find many entrepreneurs not being risky enough. That is, they're moving in the right direction, but only moving 2 feet, when they should be moving a mile. It makes it very hard to make mistakes that way, and even if you do make mistakes they aren't magnified enough to notice them.
I think even more important than making mistakes is recognizing when you've made a mistake and learning from it. Like you said, mistakes don't have to be negative. Something could turn out incredibly well, but it still might be bad for the company overall, and as long as you learn from it and correct it you will be in a much better spot.
It all boils down to this: Most startups are concerned with the here and now- putting out fires and working tirelessly to develop the product that they have envisioned. Few take the time to stop and think about whether that vision is accurate based on what little feedback they have received so far. Those who can adapt will succeed.
I would appreciate learning more about service companies on the web and the problems you see with start-ups who do this.
Interestingly enough, I think this ties in to the "Big Idea or Big Escape?" article you wrote last week. I would argue that startups tied to the Big Idea aren't doing very much because they're paralyzed by the fear of messing up that Big Idea. Conversely, startups based on the Big Escape are driven by a broader thought process, which frees them up to move in different directions. Also, when faced with mistakes, probably see it more as being the direction, not the thought behind the Big Escape. The Big Idea camp would see the problem being with the Big Idea, and consider the whole startup a failure.
I agree with you, most of us don't make enough mistakes; however, I think Brad Feld makes a great point on his blog about lack of focus.
Maybe a better metaphor is that it's better to be climbing some hill (even the wrong one) than to be sitting in the valley. At least from the wrong hill you might see the right one.
I would like also to share this site
It is not related to a startup mistakes ; actually to a Self-Employed's mistaktes
Here's a mistake that I've started worrying about making of late: spending too much time reading posts on this blog when I could be using it for my startup! :-)
Great article. Put a lot og things into perspective for me.
Btw, the URL for the articl, posted by Mohamed ElZahaby, is defunct.
I think you have a great point. startups need to learn from mistakes and for that, they need to make mistakes to learn from them. However, there are some clear mistakes that the startups should avoid. Tried to analyze those from the 20 worst VC mistakes: http://startup-newbie.blogspot.com/2007/11/20-worst-vc-investments-what-went-wrong.html
Let me know your thoughts on this.