“It’s fine to celebrate success, but it is more important to heed the lessons of failure”*…
If you ever wanted a glimpse into what dooms startups, look no further than autopsy.io, a website that lists the reasons why many newborn tech firms imploded. The website offers entrepreneurs the ability to self-explain why their startup didn’t quite make it; in a bid to separate real-life stories from entertaining fictions, the application form asks for a link to a blog post or medium article “that tells the story of the failure,” along with the founder(s) Twitter handle and Crunchbase or Angel.co profile. Some of the reasons listed for failure are maddeningly opaque, such as UniSport’s “for a number of reasons” or PlayCafe’s “we didn’t reach enough users.” Others are bleakly hilarious; as the founders of Zillionears, self-billed as a “creative pre-sale platform for musicians,” confessed: “People really didn’t really LIKE anything about our product.” If you’re thinking of launching your own company, or you work for a wet-behind-the-ears startup, it’s worth scanning the list to see if any of these potential crises are brewing in your setup.
* Bill Gates
As we dust ourselves off, we might spare a thought for Roger Bacon; he died on this date in 1292. A philosopher and Franciscan friar, Bacon was one of the first to propose mathematics and experimentation as appropriate methods of science. Working in mathematics, astronomy, physics, alchemy, and languages, he was particularly impactful in optics: he elucidated the principles of refraction, reflection, and spherical aberration, and described spectacles, which soon thereafter came into use. He developed many mathematical results concerning lenses, proposed mechanically propelled ships, carriages, and flying machines, and used a camera obscura to observe eclipses of the Sun. And he was the first European give a detailed description of the process of making gunpowder.
He began his career at Oxford, then lectured for a time at Paris, where his skills as a pedagogue earned him the title Doctor Mirabilis, or “wonderful teacher.” He stopped teaching when he became a Franciscan. But his scientific work continued, despite his Order’s restrictions on activity and publication, as Bacon enjoyed the protection and patronage of Pope Clement… until, on Clement’s death, he was placed under house arrest in Oxford, where he continued his studies, but was unable to publish and communicate with fellow investigators.