By Anna Vital (Co-Founder, Vash.co; Founder, Funders & Founders)
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos confessed on Charlie Rose recently that it took him 60 meetings to raise $1 million when he started Amazon. 60 sounds like a lot, but how about 300? That is how many investors Pandora’s founder talked to before getting his first yes. If 300 seems like a lot, how about the 1,004 attempts to sell the KFC fried chicken recipe that Colonel Sanders made before he sold it?
Or how about 5,126 prototypes of a vacuum cleaner James Dyson made? 30,000 prototypes of the light bulb Edison went through? These numbers are not as sexy as the data on startups that go viral. But they put things into perspective.
“There are no instant successes,” Oprah said to Justin Bieber in their most recent interview. Bieber agreed saying that he went to many radio stations trying to get people to like him before his YouTube clip got noticed. Likewise, Psy, who has been singing for 12 years (minus the times he got drafted and redrafted) until he horse-danced his way to becoming a global household name.
Most of us though want to believe that success comes fast. I do. But the reality of the startup world is sometimes just brutal. I go to a startup’s landing page 3 months after it launched and see a GoDaddy parked domain notice – that hurts. When I see that a user deleted my app – that’s like the end of the world. Then I see 200 users signed up in one day and it’s like I am the happiest person in the world.
On a foggy day not so long ago I was thinking to myself, “I am so close to being done.” I watched the trailer for the Start-ups: Silicon Valley show on Bravo and thought to myself, “Doing startups looks so easy. Why is it so hard for me?”
I decided to research how many attempts at doing something really successful people made. Seeing the numbers in this infographic I realized that my current startup Vash.co is only my venture number 3.
Seth Godin wrote a entire book on quitting called “The Dip: A Little Book That Teaches You When to Quit (and When to Stick)” – where he basically argues that you should quit doing what you are not good at and keep doing what you are good at. This sounds right at first, doesn’t it? But you wonder what Godin would say to to Dyson, Westergren, Tim Ferriss, and others.
If it takes you 300 investor meetings to get one yes, does it mean you are good at startups?
Women 2.0 readers: How many times would you try to succeed before calling it quits in the startup world? Let us know in the comments!
About the guest blogger: Anna Vital is a co-founder of Vash.co and founder of Funders and Founders, a San Francisco-based startup promoting startupization. She has been an entrepreneur since age 14 when she opened her fist business, a test-prep school. After attending Brigham Young in Utah, she attended law school in Nanjing, China. She speaks Mandarin Chinese, English and Russian. In her ideal world, everyone from moms to engineers to executives will do startups. Follow her on Twitter at @vitalhack.