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Your willingness to fail is what will let you succeed | Vinod Khosla on Starting Greatness with Mike Maples

Check out Starting Greatness Episode Page & Show Notes

Key Takeaways

  • “Try and fail but don’t fail to try” – Vinod Khosla
  • “Risk is real but fear is a choice”Mike Maples
  • If you’re going to fail, you want to fail early. So, tackle the biggest risk first. If you solve the biggest risk, that’s great news. But if you don’t, it’s probably a good idea to pivot.
  • Risk is an asymmetric bet: If you fail, you’ll lose a little bit. But if you succeed, you’ll gain a lot. 
  • One of the most important graphs in a startup is money spent vs amount of risk removed. The more money that has been invested, the less riskier the company should be.
  • When it comes to hiring exceptional people, you should never have a budget
    • Hiring the right person is much more important than how much you pay for them

Intro   

Risk Is A Requirement for Greatness

  • Risk is a good thing. No risk means no reward. You’ll never get a breakthrough if you only play it safe.
  • There are many different types of risks:
    • Market 
    • Product completion
    • Engineering on schedule
    • Financial runway
      • You have to decide which risk to take, in what order, and how much
  • One of the most important graphs in a startup is money spent vs the amount of risk removed. The more money that has been invested, the less risky the company should be.
  • “Risk isn’t to be avoided, intelligent risk to be taken” – Vinod Khosla
    • It’s okay to take on risk and explore new opportunities as a company, but before of taking on so much risk that you put the company’s life in jeopardy  

How To Fail Smartly

  • If you’re going to fail, you want to fail early. So, tackle the biggest risk first. If you solve the biggest risk, that’s great news. But if you don’t, it’s probably a good idea to pivot.
  • “My willingness to fail is the only real thing that has allowed me to succeed” – Vinod Khosla
    • Risk is an asymmetric bet: If you fail, you’ll lose a little bit. But if you succeed, you’ll gain a lot. 
  • “Try and fail but don’t fail to try” – Vinod Khosla
  • “Risk is real but fear is a choice”Mike Maples

Advice To Entrepreneurs

  • Move fast and break things is great advice in some fields but not all
    • If you’re building a robot that performs surgery, you don’t want to rush the development of it
  • You need to balance exploration with execution
    • If you’re only exploring, you’ll never get anything done
    • If you’re only executing, you’ll never come across new opportunities
  • Founders have to set the company culture and values
    • The only time you see a company’s true culture and values is when the founder has a hard decision to make
  • Good founders reason from first principles
    • They also value ideas regardless of who is responsible for stating them
  • You can have a good personal life while building a great company

Hiring Advice

  • When it comes to hiring exceptional people, you should never have a budget
    • Hiring the right person is much more important than how much you pay for them
  • If you want to have an out of the box company, you need to hire people that are out of the box
    • Ex: don’t hire a healthcare CEO to run your company that is disrupting the healthcare industry
    • Experience leads to incremental innovation but not large innovation
Starting Greatness with Mike Maples : , , , , ,
Notes By Alex Wiec

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