Another Honest Blog Post About Failure

Super successful entrepreneur Paul Berberian just wrote a blog post about how he’s closing up shop on his latest venture — Zenie Bottle. To those of us who’ve been following Zenie Bottle it seems like just a week ago the company launched. Paul acknowledges how brief the ride has been. And he echoes something I’ve written about which is when you realize you’ve made a mistake, act immediately to correct it. Paul and his partner realized the company had some fundamental problems and they were going to run out of cash. They moved right away:

So yes, we barely got going but after two miles into the 1000 mile trip, we lost the road.

Once we made the decision, we took immediate action. When I say immediate I mean within the next ten minutes. Steve and I walked out of the conference room and immediately sat down with the employees and walked them through the decision process. We then took stock of what we had. Great people, some cash, physical infrastructure, office space, a cool web site for sharing photos, 22,642 bottles and a fun story element that never launched. One way to wind down (not the preferable) is to simply run out of cash, liquidate whatever assets are remaining, let go of all the people and tell the investors that it didn’t work. That didn’t feel very minty-fresh to us. We determined that we had to find a deal for each of the various elements of the business if we were going to preserve any hope of returning some money to our investors.

Wouldn’t it be great if every entrepreneur whose idea didn’t go according to plan wrote postmortems like this?

Paul Berberian is responsible for some of my fondest memories in Colorado. We went to the US Air Force Academy together. And one sunny day last March I sent Paul a one line email saying, "It’s quite a nice day out" and three hours later we were in his small airplane from Boulder to Cheyenne, and for a brief moment I was the sole pilot!

Thanks for sharing your experience, Paul. Onto the next idea!

4 Responses to Another Honest Blog Post About Failure

  1. Xavier Chu says:

    Maybe I missed the point. Maybe I love to troll… but do you have any posts where you create content/value and not spew forth links and copy/pastes from other websites?

    Your blog was highly recommended. Now that I’m, all it seems to be is highly recommending others’.

  2. Ben Casnocha says:

    Xavier – I have four years of archives with tons of original content. Look by category or month.

    I also do a fair amount of linking — because the filtering and recommending of info I think is also useful to folks…(and to me).

  3. Sharing our mistakes sometimes teaches us more than it does others. I think blogging has really added to that… we don’t have to be super polished, we can show our warts to the world and actually connect, not showboat.

    Raza Imam
    http://SoftwareSweatshop.com

  4. Ann Snider says:

    Ben,

    Thank you for coming to Kearney, Nebraska. I hope you felt like your time was not wasted. I think it is SOOOO good for these UNK students to see what is out there. Having grown up in San Diego and having lived all over the world, I am always so grateful to “drag” my two oldest sons to hear young, thought-provoking, intelligent people like you!

    Thanks!
    Ann Snider
    Educational Specialist, UNK
    Wife and mother of four

    PS–Eat an “In and Out Burger” for me! :)

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