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Failing forward: How failing can help you succeed

persist-win

This article was published in the 18-September-2014 issue of Finweek Magazine

Back in 2008, GIBS asked a handful of MBA alumni who were internet entrepreneurs to share our biggest learnings. In all honesty, I don’t remember much about that night or what I talked about to that classroom of aspiring entrepreneurs. But the one thing I do remember as clearly as today, is the three words spoken by my classmate Justin Spratt, at the time running IS Labs. He said: “Launch, then iterate.” His sage advice came long before the global entrepreneurial Lean Start-up movement made this idea trendy. And I still swear by it to this day.

Justin explained “Launch, then iterate” along these lines: get your minimum working product out there fast, get customers using it as quickly as possible, and tweak and improve as you get their feedback. Don’t delay your launch for the day when your offering is perfect, because it will never be perfect, which means you will never launch. And that artificial goal you’re defining as perfection, may be something your customers won’t even want, let alone pay for. So don’t waste time or money building something that you haven’t yet tried out in a scaled-down form with your customers. Continue reading

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When winners are losers: lessons for entrepreneurs

Chris-Poole

This article also appeared in Finweek on 27-Feb-2014

Investors often look at early-stage traction as a key indicator of a start-up’s potential to succeed. Yet despite their sizeable user numbers, success didn’t happen for US start-up Drawquest. Would Drawquest’s impressive stats have translated into success if they had started up in South Africa? And what are the valuable lessons here for entrepreneurs? Continue reading


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Growing from your career mistakes


This article also appeared in
Finweek Magazine in their 26-Sep-2013 issue

Singer Eddie Cantor once said: “It takes 20 years to become an overnight success”.  Behind every seemingly instant success, are years of slog work, learning, experimenting, and many failures along the journey. What differentiates great business people, however, is their very unique view on failure. Unlike most ordinary individuals, they are not afraid to fail. They see failure as a necessary part of the path to success, and an opportunity to learn and grow and do things differently.

So if success is a long and winding road of trial and error and iteration, are there any lessons we can learn along the way from successful leadership icons who’ve been there? Finweek asked South African business icons Alan Knott-Craig Sr., Kumaran Padayachee and Tony Leon what they regretted most about their careers, and what they have learnt or done differently as  a result.
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