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Then The Company Died — HereO, GetAlfred Learn from Failure (PartII)

Translated by Andrew

Screwed up? Suck it up!

The co-founder of GetAlfed, Ronald, summarized his startup career with three digits: 581. Hold on a sec, which 581?

“Alright folks, Kobe just retired today (the talk was on 4/14; [1]). Let’s have a minute of honor for him.” He said he respects Kobe a lot, but hates him as well. The legend was so determined to succeed that he once said, “Love me or hate me, it’s one or the other.” That’s what starting a company is all about. Whatever background or company, you’ve gotta be paranoid; you do what you should do so that success follows.

Then he talked about his real digits: 321.

“3 represents my third time starting a company. I was in the search engine business when 23. TOKICHOI was the leading company in e-commerce in Taiwan, and they were all the rage back then. Although we addressed information recognition for TOKIOCHOI, we closed up after 6 months due to cash shortage.”

“2 means I failed twice within 5 years. In 2015, I joined GetAlfred, a company providing O2O parking services, which just ended its 9-month business this January. When you Google GetAlfred, the first result will be my article, talking about why GetAlfred failed in details. Today, I’m here to talk about something unmentioned in the article…something dark about entrepreneurship.”

Co-founder of GetAlfred / , Ronald
Co-founder of GetAlfred / ParkingLot, Ronald

#It’s All About “People”

“We officially wound up GetAlfred in 2016 and devoted ourselves into ParkingLot, and app providing parking information. During the transition, some people left the team. People come and leave. You’ll get used to it. Being a shareholder, you should never ask why people leave during hardship; they have no reasons to stay. Instead, you should be thinking about why I don’t manage to keep them, or why I don’t want to keep them.

Some may leave, but some stay. When Ronald was about to wind up the company, he talked one on one with each employee. It’s something you must do even though no one likes bad news. He asked himself at the time, “What is the purpose to keep going? Can I bring my team to the next level?”

“There are people and students thinking that everyone is starting companies, and it’s awesome. However, before becoming a founder, you should know you’re the one that stays and fights when company collapses. You’re the one being bold enough to cope with all that stuff. You’re the one telling them we’re going to be fine although someone leaves.”

#Sharing shitty experience.

There are few people sharing their failure in Taiwan.

“I have friends that I turn to when encountering problems. We call it ‘shitty experience’. We keep making the same mistakes. That’s why sharing shitty experience is important, and the reason I wrote the article regarding GetAlfred. If there were more people willing to share their experience, you would know who to turn to when facing difficulties. What’s happening now is that entrepreneurs don’t know how they get funding and how they lose it; we don’t have enough stories.”

He admitted that he has yet learned enough even after his third startup and efforts in the Internet industry. Being aware of what you lack is the key to face failure. “I highly recommend that entrepreneurs have some time to think about what they did wrong every month.”

#Who is to blame for failure?

Being a founder, the company fails as well as revives because of you. The point is that you have to find the way of revival.

“Are you on the right path of revival when facing failure? Sometimes you have a good idea,  but you’re heading the wrong direction.”

Ronald gave an example of an artist. You are supposed to do a landscape painting, but you are holding a thick brush without smoothing the tip; you do an oil painting with water color and get the canvas all wet through. “So I looked back on my mistakes these years. I was too young to understand how the system works when starting my first company. I thought I could nail it with TOKIOCHOI, but I was the one tripping. With GetAlfred, I realized such business pattern needed to be run with more money, which I couldn’t get, so I told everyone that we were closing up.”

“There are two kinds of people willing to bet everything on their career: paranoids and insiders. So, here it comes, the last digit, 1, means that you have to be all in with all your strengths. Are you willing to do that?”

Have you really thought it through? Have you made up your mind?

 

[1] 581 stands for the 5 NBA champions and 81 points in a single game Kobe Bryant achieved in his NBA career.

 

中文版連結

Cover photo: PanX

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PanX 泛科技

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