“Fail Fast, Fail Often, Fail Everywhere”. By John Donohue. The New Yorker. May 31, 2015.
“Discussions about failure may come more easily in America in part because our businesspeople are so good at it. The failure rate for startups, using a yardstick in which investors lose everything (i.e., all of the company’s assets are liquidated), is between thirty and forty per cent, according to Shikhar Ghosh, a senior lecturer at Harvard Business School.
The rate is seventy to eighty per cent if failure is defined as not meeting the projected return on investment, and ninety to ninety-five per cent if it is measured by failing to beat a declared projection.
Despite these statistics, Americans remain remarkably optimistic about the process—last year, venture-capital companies staked forty-eight billion dollars in pursuit of big returns. And the fact that these investments are concentrated in a relatively small number of companies has not seemed to inspire much fear in prospective entrepreneurs.
According to a study done by the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor, a project run by Babson College and the London Business School, in 2014 among respondents between the ages of eighteen and sixty-four who were not already running their own businesses, just thirty per cent reported that fear of failure would stop them from starting one.
And more than half of those Americans surveyed believed that there are good opportunities to strike out on one’s own.