Squeezing lemonade


Losing everything can also be a nurturing boost to mothering a new business. Geoff James features a trio of stories in Inc. magazine titled “3 Who Turned Tragedy Into Success” examining failed entrepreneurs whose setbacks gave their eventual thriving business its vibrancy…

  • Josh Opperman: Broken Promise, Better Price – Opperman came home one day to an empty Manhattan apartment to find his girlfriend gone, with only an engagement ring left behind…He founded the website I Do … Now I Don’t, which buys engagement rings from broken relationships and resells them to suitors looking for a good deal.
  • Payman Taei: Using Bed Rest to Launch a Business – One day, after going to the doctor about what seemed like a minor complaint, he learned he had Crohn’s disease…However, the one good thing about being stuck in bed is that you’ve got plenty of time on your hands. Taei used that time to fiddle around on a computer and learn about digital art. His work got noticed, and soon he was in demand as a website developer. Today, Taei is the CEO of HindSite Interactive, one of Maryland’s leading design and development firms.”
  • W. Mitchell: From Devastated to Inspiring – “He experienced two huge disasters in quick succession: a motorcycle accident that left his skin burned and shredded, then a plane crash that paralyzed him…Over the years, he’s founded a $65 million company and been a two-term mayor, a congressional nominee, a radio host and television personality, a published author, and a Speakers Hall of Fame inductee.”

In another piece, James looks more closely at this dynamic of what makes failure so useful. At first glance, Geoffrey’s piece ‘How to Make Failure Impossible! Really!’ would appear the anti-thesis of ‘embracing failure’, but really he expresses some key themes turning adversity to advantage…

  1. Persistence – “Decide that you must achieve the goal
  2. Learning – “Treat set-backs as signals
  3. Semantics – “Define ‘failure’ as ‘failing to take action.”

In short, the only way to make ‘Failure an impossibility’, is to embrace it wholeheartedly.

James concludes the first piece with a twist on the classic failure embracing adage – Forget about lemonade: These successful entrepreneurs turned lemons into once-in-a-lifetime opportunities.”