Million dollar baby: 6 reasons why successful start-ups should hire failed entrepreneurs


As I sat after a long time putting together the relics of an old start-up of mine, the visions of a nasty interviewer deluged my mind with fear and anxiety. The embarrassment of shunning the job world to pursue what I felt was my calling, and then coming back with a meek face and “I didn’t mean people who did jobs were unskilled laborers” look, was paltry compared to the daunting task of convincing the tight suited interviewer of the fact that even though my shirt has creases I am not a failure.

“Don’t you think taking such a deep plunge in the very beginning of your career was too risky?”

Okay, so you expect me to take a plunge with two kids and a blabbering lady in my arms, put a debt laden oxygen mask on their face and tell them “Puff all you can because, THIS IS START-UP!!!”; or even better, declare my 2 year old kids as my co-founders, turn them into coding machines, and have them sell e-diapers.

“This was the most risk-free time I could find sir, but I may be wrong as I lack some valuable experience in arse licking.”

This is the story of a lot of people in the so called developing side of the world. Now turning to the developed side, a company accepted by Y Combinator (with an acceptance rate of only 3-5%) has less than a 1-in-10 chance of being a big success. I am throwing these numbers from some random Business Insider article, but the objective here is to pay attention to this enormous pool of high quality left out human resource that gets drained into the sewage of monotonous life-sucking jobs. I request all the successful start-ups to take a dip in this filth just once by adding a job page on their website with a Meta tag that says – “Tired of failing? Let’s give it one more shot”. Now, why should you hire failed entrepreneurs?

Mommy Mommy! Can I have another Lego set?

Corporate world gives them jobs, whereas start-up world gives ownership and freedom to ideate, express, and create. This is what they were asking from life, isn’t it? Creativity can only bloom inside the fertility of freedom, and a small stake in the company is a way to tell them – “Okay, you can keep your Lego that you just built, I am not taking any of those pieces home.”

If you keep working like this you will soon be the country head

Retention is extremely crucial in initial stages because when a person leaves at this time, he takes away some skill and expertise from the company. Hiring just another geek for a low salary maybe an economical option, but all he is looking for is some start-up experience. On the other hand, this nasty little man who you just picked from the sewage dirt shares the same passion as you do, and will tend to stay longer.

“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work”

Not everyone is lucky to land a million dollar cheque the very first time. But if you have, you do not yet know what doesn’t work for you.  Our honorable ’fail to death’ men (emerged after all the dirt cleansing and detoxification) will tell you that if earthquake hasn’t struck you yet, it doesn’t mean you are not in zone 5.

Honey! Do you mind changing the diapers please?!!

This million dollar baby of yours whom you finally gave birth to with so much pain will keep pestering you. Our men know how to change the diapers. Basically, they bring along with them a wealth of experience, some of which you might not have (I doubt even you doubt it!). Leave everyone else; even the VCs know that more than half of the babies they invested in will die. They are only betting on the fact that at least one of them will grow up to become $1bn Arnold Schwarzenegger, who will make up for the rest.

Buy that WhatsApp for 19 dollars before someone buys it for 19 oops! billion dollars

So what if a seed fund rejected the social media analytics engine of three alien looking eyes-popped-out nerds. If you run an online music studio, put these geeks in a garage (that horrible gloomy place where everyone wants to start from), let them fully develop their engine and analyze the moods of your fb fans, and then automatically post the appropriate music video on their timeline. What I mean to say is that you may find somebody with an idea that is too common or may not be useful on a standalone basis, but may be a perfect complement for your product. These kids get to develop their dream product and you get a value add for your own for dimes.

I know you are high, but please don’t be a superman

Above all, these men can teach you how to handle success. Even though they themselves have never tasted it they know how precious it is. So to keep it, they will strive every day to innovate. They will monitor the trends and remain well ahead of the curve. They will never relax! Don’t worry, it is in their genes and most importantly…in their past (Also read – Why entrepreneurs are obsessed with failures).

So next time you interview candidates it wouldn’t be a bad idea to ask them to prepare their failure resume. Find the longest one, hire him, give him a pat on the back, and say – “You did well.”


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