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James Hong

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Do YOU have the balls to try? Part I

My friend Jeremy Liew eloquently points out today that the beauty of silicon valley is not that everyone succeeds whenever they try to build a startup, but rather that we applaud entrepreneurs even when they fail... because every entrepreneur recognizes that the hardest step in becoming a success is always the first one.. the decision to drop everything and go for it, against all odds.

It is no surprise that a lot of SV success stories are about entrepreneurs who succeeded on their second, third, or fourth tries. HOTorNOT was my 3rd startup attempt. Paypal was Max Levchin's 3rd. The Facebook was not Mark Zuckerberg's first website. The list goes on and on...

I agree with Jeremy.. Fail or Succeed, what all these entrepreneurs have in common is the guts to try. I know that is a cliche thing to say, but I think every entrepreneur out there realizes how hard it is to start something new, whether starting a web company or a new restaurant or any other business.

So anyone criticizing failing companies should realize that those people got further than the people who criticize probably have. It's true that I think a lot of ideas people are working on out there are idiotic, but I also have the utmost level of respect for them as individuals for trying... (the truth is if you don't have at least 9 bad ideas first, you'll never have 1 good one either).

In reality, Jim and I lost our balls over the last 4 years, and for good reason.. we were tired of being broke and figured being risk averse wasn't a terrible thing. So we kept running the site as a cashcow. The decision to restart HOTorNOT recently is a fairly ballsy one, we are shutting down the cashcow and going for it again. It's risky, but a hell of a lot more fun!! I'll write more about that soon, but in the meantime if you happen to be (or know) a top notch developer who wants to join us in building cool stuff AND learn how to be entrepreneurial, check out our Jobs page! For the time being, we're only looking to let 4 people in.

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