Failure is Everywhere…Don't Underestimate Collateral Damage

When we look back on years 2008 to at least 2010 we will see much written about collateral damage. I am already a victim in many ways, but nothing cataclysmic. By embracing the notion of collateral damage and discussing it, I believe that opportunities will present themselves. It’s preverbial lemons into lemonade time thinking from this point on in 2009 and beyond.

I have failed recently on this blog. It’s not writer’s block as I have hundreds of half written posts with fun titles for ‘Google Juice’.

I have failed because I have not switched things up enough. The posts that I have half written are all the same. Too much money and stock and venture stuff and not enough ‘truthiness’.

With my new love of short bursts of conversation on Twitter, I have gotten away from the blog because the two or three posts I would write a day about the markets and deal flow are now in real time over on Twiitter and Stocktwits. I have not fully adjusted to the different styles required from ‘real time’ notes and blogging. For me at least, there is a big difference and I am thinking hard about how to adjust and get the passion back for writing and blogging.

I have been extremely fortunate and lucky the last few years while a majority in my profession have suffered. As 2009 progresses and the difficult financial markets persists, it’s time to start thinking about collateral damage. It wiped me out in 2001/2002 and will wipe out many in 2009/2010.

I have long wanted to write a book about my embarassing failures, but doubt I will get around to it so I might as well start posting them here slowly and see if I can put a stream together.

My biggest business failure was not an event, it was a long bungled process full of mistakes. I guess people would like failures to be packaged up quite simply around one decision, but I don’t think any ONE decision leads to failure. We are free to change our minds and therefore, mistakes can be undone and businesses and life’s put back on track. When failure comes, life feels like it halts around you and you go into awful damage control and cleanup. I have been there and done that and it’s awful. I will fail again no doubt, but I have many processes and procedures in place that should prevent a total damage control, life halting situation.

It’s the fear of failure that some times leads to failure and maybe I am lucky in business to have been in that hole.

I remember when I knew I was cooked back in 2001. It was not that the stock market had crushed me, my fund or my business, rather the stock market had crushed the people around me. I had a false sense of security from having gotten to cash quite quickly when the bubble imploded. I remember all the long talks with my new bearish friends that Phoenix was dead and there would be tumbleweeds blowing down Camelback quite soon.

Of course I was wrong (it’s happening now :) ), and in my glee for sidestepping the end of civilization, I forgot that my partners could be imploding. In fact they were.

My failure came from focusing solely on my little controllable world.

Life and business is just not that easy.