‘Whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.’
Monday night’s Innovation Social, partnered by Source LF, combined people’s failures and their following successes into one event. Right from the start, the power of failure was evident. The event was hosted by Albion, who claim not to be a strategy consultancy, an advertising agency or a product design studio, but instead all of them in combination. The evening was introduced by the Co-founder of Creative Social, Daniele Fiandaca, who was pleased to talk about his success in making his ambition of taking Innovation Social global a reality – well done Daniele. Glyn Britton, Chief Strategy Officer at Albion, then introduced the night’s topic and the speakers.
Oleg Fomenko talking about bloom.fm
- Co-founder of Sweat Coin
Our first speaker talked about why he started up bloom.fm. Oleg believed he was dealing with a real problem, that music was either free or unaffordable, with a particular focus on students, who didn’t want to spend £120 a year on music. He then told us about the failure and how ‘experiencing this big crash confronted [him] with the big issues’ of which his biggest was putting all his eggs in one basket. With a surprise withdrawal of funding, he was left with nowhere to go and had to close Bloom.fm – a real shame.
Vincent Breslin talking about Sians Plan
- MD at KeepMeBooked
Following this was a talk about how Vincent’s start-up, Sians Plan, failed and what he learnt from this experience. He first explained that he started the company, which was named after his mum, because he was innovative, believed that he could do it and hated being told what to do. After stating that your ability to raise money has a fundamental impact on how you run the business, Vincent explained how his investment manager didn’t know who the company were and that they sadly ran out of time in the growth process. What he learnt from this experience was very insightful; you must have absolute clarity of the company, understand your target market and ‘go with the grain instead of sticking to the business plan.’ ‘Market to yourself’ was a phrase he coined when offering up what the company should have done more quickly.
Julia Groves talking about Trillion:
- Founding Chair of the UK Crowdfunding Association
Lastly we heard from Julia who spoke passionately about her failed start-up Trillion, so passionately that she clenched a box of tissues throughout. She explained how she felt at a disadvantage in the start-up world, with the successful start-ups having rich founders with names like Arthur, Charlie, Freddie and Archie. Additionally she said that even with her relentless optimism & extreme bloody mindedness that Trillion was doomed. After finally raising the money to launch Trillion, the Government cancelled 90% of all support for solar and wind products, stripping everything she had built away in five days. Julia’s concluding words of advice covered ‘diversify your risk,’ ‘remember to incentivise’ and don’t take on too much by yourself, ‘even if you are frikin saving the planet and fixing banking!’
Julia then directed the conversation over to the audience, wanting to find out what our perspectives on the topic were. A few comments were made that really interested me;
- “It is a tough existence, for clients and agencies.”
- “There’s a certain dissatisfaction when you see entrepreneurial success around you, when you work within a big organisation.”
- “As a start-up or entrepreneur, you learn more in 2-3 years than you would in 10 years in a corporation.”
- “It’s all about right time right place, the stars just need to align.”
Three speakers, three companies, three pieces of advice;
1) Don’t put all of your eggs in one basket.
2) Have absolute clarity on what the product is and target a market that you fall into.
3) Don’t take on a too bigger task by yourself and diversify your risk!
I was personally inspired by the speakers’ openness to speaking about their failures and took away some insightful tips on how it helped them moving forward. Hopefully you find this as helpful as I did.