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Bill Freedman

Not all mistakes are created equal. Starting Webvan at full scale is different than building a prototype that fails to exceed expectations.

Failure sucks but instructs when it doesn't wipe out your assets. Failure just sucks when you place all or nothing bets and lose.

I guess one important life lesson is don't make all or nothing bets...

Yuying Lee

I feel a failing experiences could be an invaluable assets. But people seldom talk and share about them, making them somehow even very rare assets. As knowing more people in the web community in Taiwan (doing E-commerce, web2.0 sites…etc), sometimes I get the chance to hear about failing stories. For instance, the founder of a company currently only designing web-campaigns for Yahoo actually had founded the first family-hotel portal (like homeaway in US) in Taiwan around 2000. With the novel online-booking system at that time, it quickly generated partnerships with a portion of small hotels of main tourist spots. As many hotel owners were not apt in operating the system, the web-generated booking information was transmitted partially by old means, such as phone calls and fax. The website took a good portion of revenue (30% per deal). However, while a big tourist event held in a small county draw tourists more than double as usual holidays, the fragile system collapsed. While the web company hired part-time workers to keep inform hotel owners the very recent online booking info, hotel owners were trapped in bookings from web and their own sources. After the event, the web company considered it’s beyond their capacity to manage the whole scene and took off the booking system, making the portal only an information provider with advertisement income. The kinds of stories very often influence our own decisions in conducting a new service via web. Because of them, maybe we can make fewer mistakes our own. Will there be a new subject in studying the failing-learning gap?

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