Startups are more likely to fail than succeed. Yet, failure is the mother of success, and there are many lessons we can take from these failed startups in the Sharing economy. Ever heard of CouchSurfing? Neither did we before reading Brad Stone's Upstarts. Yet, these guys could have easily been Airbnb if they did a few things right. Common sense still works in the Internet age, but the rules have to be tweaked a bit when you deal with mystical connections in the atmosphere rather than a real fleet of car. Having said that, MCorp Review feels that there are some good lessons (more for entrepreneurs and managers than investors) one can take from examples in the book:
- Selectively embrace controversy. Uber's Kalanick goes overboard with office conduct, but overly compromising with regulators and cabbies could have been worse, as Hailo's example shows.
- Be flexible yo. It's good to be passionate, but too much idealism, as in CouchSurfing's stubbornness in remaining a non-profit, led to unnecessary delays and eventual loss to Airbnb.
- Don't give up. One of the earliest ride hailing pioneers simply gave up over personal safety fears and stress. Y Combinator called Airbnb co-founders "cockroach", because they simply wouldn't give up. Hmm...history could have turned out differently but for the mindset.
- Pick the right partners. Some of their rivals jilted Sequoia, thinking how cool it was to do that. Big mistake...considering these guys later helped Uber with more than just capital yo.
- Solve the glitches. Taxi Magic made some bloopers in their software that created wrong incentives. Anyone would have seen that coming.
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