Wisdom in the entrepreneurial world

There is a strong survivor bias in studies of innovation and entrepreneurship–both in the academic literature and in the stories of practicing professionals. We tend to study the winners, the companies that made it out of the garage and onto NASDAQ. They’re easier to find. Even the losers we study tend to have survived long enough to be noticed, which by itself makes them more successful than most new ventures.

When you’re business is investing in new ventures–in picking winners–there is some value in studying how you’ve done that well. There is likely more value in studying what you did wrong. Bessemer Venture Partners has a pretty unique site describing the companies that they did not invest in: they call it their Anti-Portfolio. Every VC firm has such a history–few would acknowledge them publicly.

1 thought on “Wisdom in the entrepreneurial world

  1. Andy-
    An interesting story I heard from David Bornstein provides a social sector analog. Gary White of WaterPartnes International studied the many failed water projects in the Developing World. He then started the organization to address the underlying causes of failure. Local partners, community education, private ownership, maintenance organizations and microfinance are all part of the solution they offer. Now they have a much higher level of success. http://water.org/programs/
    And, its summertime… isn’t it time to do a bit more blogging?

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