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Jimmy Wales' Theory of Failure 164

Hugh Pickens writes "The Tampa Tribune reports that Jimmy Wales recently spoke at the TEDx conference in Tampa about the three big failures he had before he started Wikipedia, and what he learned from them. In 1996 Wales started an Internet service to connect downtown lunchers with area restaurants. 'The result was failure,' says Wales. 'In 1996, restaurant owners looked at me like I was from Mars.' Next Wales started a search engine company called 3Apes. In three months, it was taken over by Chinese hackers and the project failed. Third was an online encyclopedia called Nupedia, a free encyclopedia created by paid experts. Wales spent $250,000 for writers to make 12 articles, and it failed. Finally, Wales had a 'really dumb idea,' a free encyclopedia written by anyone who wanted to contribute. That became Wikipedia, which is now one of the top 10 most-popular Web sites in the world. This leads to Wales' theories of failure: fail faster — if a project is doomed, shut it down quickly; don't tie your ego to any one project — if it stumbles, you'll be unable to move forward; real entrepreneurs fail; fail a lot but enjoy yourself along the way; if you handle these things well, 'you will succeed.'"

The hardest part of climbing the ladder of success is getting through the crowd at the bottom.