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!

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