Great post Lynn! My main question after reading it is: how do we encourage more and more women to become entrepreneurs? Obviously, we need to actively support women entrepreneurs, for instance by giving them better access to mentors and capital, which should make them feel more confident as they will have more resources at hand. I guess we also need to inspire girls and expose them to entrepreneurship early, through organizations like Girls Who Code. Finally, showcasing the stories of great women entrepreneurs – talking about both their successes and failures – is probably a powerful way to demystify entrepreneurship for women and change the status quo.
Thanks for your post Helena! When reading it, two thoughts came to my mind:
– It really takes a lot of discipline to follow the steps you are describing instead of trying harder and harder to make the dream come true. So I guess that as soon as you start your new venture, you should ask yourself whether you are confident you’ll be able to stick to the hard stops you’ll define or you need someone in your team or even external to the venture to help you see the reality when things do not go so well. When it’s hard to self-control, I think it’s crucial to have someone ask you: “Do the data really look good?” like in the Dinr case.
– Acceptance of failure is critical as a first step toward failing well. In some cultures, failure is really not well accepted. Leaving one’s ego aside can help accepting failure and I do think that working toward mentally accepting failure is essential to decide to fail early and well.
Thanks for sharing this Kaitlyn! I also think that having a unicorn status comes with additional pressure and risks for the startup, and as such is not always a good thing. This article (http://www.inc.com/jill-krasny/the-danger-of-excessive-valuations.html) mentions among others:
– Additional pressure for the team to achieve very ambitious milestones
– Challenge of managing an “angry crazy” investor when results are not in line with the crazy growth that was expected at the time of the investment
– More difficult to achieve a higher valuation in next rounds of funding and dilution risks
– Difficulties to exit by being acquired, as very few companies can afford it
– In the case of an IPO, fear of significant stock price decrease when the frenzy stops
When reading your post, I also thought that the lessons you draw are applicable to any period of success in life, whether in a startup environment or not, whether in your professional or personal life. I do think that in general, it’s always a good thing to keep questioning if what you’re doing is the right thing to do according to your own criteria and the different stakeholders’ ones. It’s also good to keep in mind that things may not work as you think they will and be prepared for bad times when things turn wrong. To finish with, managing expectations is crucial, even more so when people believe in you and you have been successful so far.