„Success is a terrible teacher” – interview with Don Dodge

You have been to Poland few weeks ago. What’s your general impression?

Poland has lots of engineering talent, and is very entrepreneurial. I was impressed with all the people who want to start companies.

At the E-nnovation conference you said that „failure is not an option, it is requirement”. Why do you think so? What can we learn from failure?

Success is a terrible teacher. We learn nothing from success that we didn’t already know. We learn most from failures, hopefully small ones. Failure means experience, and experience is important to future success.

You also gave some great examples of startups which failed but finally achieved success. But in the other hand there are startups which didn’t fail and are successfull as well, eg. Facebook, Google, YouTube. So, is it really necessary to fail?

Even successful companies have failed many Times, you just don’t see it from the outside. Some successful companies did a „pivot” or changed what they started to do for something better. It is not necessary to fail, sometimes you get lucky and get it right the first time.

What are the main differences between American and European startups?

American startups think globally from day one. The American market is big, but the world is much bigger. So, they tend to think about international markets from day one.

Few months ago we could observe wide discussion about new internet bubble. What’s your opinion about it? Are we currently in the next internet bubble or maybe close to it?

Bubbles happen in cycles when investors start to place too much value on copying existing ideas. They bid up the prices for companies that really have no value. Market leaders always get the highest valuations. But, I don’t see many companies getting buble type valuations at this point.

How do you consider the role of startups in the global economy?

Startups create most of the new jobs in any economy. Startups innovate technology more than big companies. Creating jobs and innovation are core to any economy, and startups do this better than any other type company.

Startups are kind of a new trend in entreprenuership. It is really jazzy to have a startup, we have a lot of startup events, big community, huge money on the market and hundreds or even thousands of new startups each year. How do you see the future of this trend?

I see startups getting more successful in the future. This will encourage others to start companies, and convince the government to support startups. I see more startup incubators supporting more startups, and creating many more new jobs.

Thanks for the interview!