Bill Clinton caraciture


Happy Birthday to Bill!

Former President Bill Clinton will perhaps be as much remembered for his personal failings as his professional achievements. One of the silver linings to those failings was the boost to the profile and respect for his wife Hillary who handled the ‘affair’ with grace, composure and even support which only boosted her strength as a 2008 Presidential candidate (ultimately ending up as a superb ambassador to the world). Bill’s own perspective on failure was featured in the Wired own ‘How to Fail’ issue in the piece “My Greatest Mistake: Learn From Eight Luminaries”…

  • Bill Clinton – “When I was defeated for reelection as governor in 1980, there didn’t seem to be much future for me in politics. I was probably the youngest ex-governor in American history. But if I hadn’t been defeated, I probably would have never become president. It was a near-death experience, but it forced me to be more sensitive and to understand that if people think you’ve stopped listening, you’re sunk.”
  • Jason Kilar – “I learned that perception can quickly become reality: It was very important not to look like we were hiding anything and to talk to our customers about what had occurred.”
  • Mike Tyson – “I never lost a fight to another fighter, but I lost plenty to myself. I’m happy to have experienced ups and downs. My mentor, Cus D’Amato, used to say, “Adversity will make the strong stronger and the weak weaker.” Alexander the Great, Genghis Khan, Machiavelli: Insecurities allowed them to be great men.”
  • Terry Gilliam – “It’s probably the thing in my life that’s given me the most nightmares — that failure was so painful, so embarrassing, so shocking. It’s left me with the only real scars that I carry around inside. I think that’s why I foolishly march on in projects today, because I don’t want to feel that again.”
  • Nick Denton – “It was the business equivalent of a kick in the balls and a sucky way to end a vacation. Engadget soon overtook Gizmodo. But I’m grateful to Calacanis. I had been taking it easy, and he roused the competitor in me. Gizmodo now has some 10 times the traffic it had then; it’s eclipsing Engadget. I always say to myself: It’s never as bad (or as good) as it seems at the time.”
  • Meg Whitman – “You learn a lot from a near-death experience like that. You have to invest in your company for the long term, especially when you are just starting to ramp up.”
  • Jason Fried – “We’ve definitely learned from mistakes—when we didn’t communicate something clearly enough, for instance. Mostly, we’ve learned what not to do.”
  • Max Lechin – “Nothing’s going to be perfect. Launch first and find out what the market tells you. Don’t delay, because if you do, somebody else is going to eat your lunch. Ship. Iterate.”