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Fail often: An honest account of my failures

Society portrays failure as a negative thing. The stigma revolving around the word failure leads to the thinking that it is a bad thing.

Often in the world of startups and life, failures are as good as winning. Failure is learning. Failure is like waves in an ocean, whittling the rocks, one wave at a time. It moulds you to who you are.

Apple Newton

Apple Newton and Apple iPhone (Source: Wikipedia)

Steve Jobs quoted “You can only connect the dots looking backwards”. I’ve had a lot of failures in my life, looking back at it my failures were my dots.  I’ll talk about a few failures I’ve had to face, that changed my life.

Success is moving from failure to failure with enthusiasm - Winston Churchill

First failure

My first startup was a failure, we failed to generate enough revenue and ended up closing it down. But while building this, I was able to move to Silicon Valley. I took part in several Ycombinator events.

I met a lot of smart people. I indulged in smart conversations. I was able to grow and learn through this failure.

A good rejection

I applied for a position in Product Hunt. I was on a default disadvantage with my location, and I failed to make the cut. Little did I know that, this failure was going to be life changing.

Andreas Klinger, the CTO of Product Hunt(and one of the kindest humans I’ve known) felt a few candidates were good enough to be hired. He tweeted a list of people.

I ended up receiving a bunch of great job offers, I could pick and choose what I wanted. That resulted in me moving to Berlin, Germany working at store2be. Moving to a new city and meeting new people is always life changing.

It was also the beginning of another startup spell for me. I learned the problems faced by remote teams, and on a mission to solve this I started building Carrom.

I also understood the importance of building networks. And talking to smart people over the internet.

From failure to failure, with enthusiasm

Carrom was also a journey from failure to failure until our hard work paid off and we got acquired. When building a startup you get rejections on a daily basis. I had at least 50 VCs rejecting me over 2 years. A few big names like Sequoia too.

At the highest point, Ycombinator rejected Carrom at the final round of interviews in Paris, in November 2019.

Carrom Ycombinator rejection letter

A very detailed response from Gustaf, Ycombinator regarding our rejection

We endured the failure, kept on building the product, and hit new brick walls every time. Ready to accept our failure, we even decided to shut down Carrom since we felt, we weren’t making enough progress. In a plot twist, Carrom got acquired by OysterHR.

Oyster acquires Carrom

In the end, the reason why what you do will be successful is because you didn’t give up

These are a few failures. I’ve failed more, failed often. Don’t get me wrong, failing often sucks.

There is a lot of stress and anxiety when you fail. Sometimes it feels like getting sucker-punched on your pretty face. But that is life.

Don’t be ashamed of failures. Unlearn what society has taught you about failure, they are the dots that completes your journey.

Anything that doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger

Embrace them. Learn from it. Grow through it.

I would love your feedbacks. Write to me at hey@sooraj.io.