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2x startup Founder & CEO who has gone to the Dark Side of VC. His first company, BuildOnline was sold in 2005, his second, Koral was acquired by and became known as Salesforce Content, while Mark served as VP Product Management. In 2007 Mark joined GRP Partners in 2007 as a General Partner.  He focuses on early-stage technology companies, usually looking at Series A investment, and blogs at the aptly titled Both Sides of the Table.

2 responses to “Good Judgment Comes with Experience, But Experience Comes from Bad Judgment”

  1. Alamgir Kahn

    I saw a blurb on my RSS feed a couple of weeks
    ago that something similar to this: In
    entrepreneurship, there’s not much gained from
    failing–it doesn’t teach you much new, it only
    teaches you what /not/ to do again in the future.

    The statement stuck with me. I’ve /always/ been
    of the impression that a great way to learn is to
    fail, but I think this stuck with me because it
    made me realize that in the universe of possible
    options one has at any given time during the
    creation of a company (I’m in the process of
    starting my 3rd), what you learned in the past
    from failing is going to help you only so much.
    That said, ANY help you can get is great, but I
    think the value of “learning” from failing has
    diminished a little in my mind.

  2. Mark Suster

    I don’t know. I think that learning from your failures is tremendously valuable. The problem is that too many people don’t learn.

    Life in a startup is filled with thousands of decisions and if you’re good only 30% will be wrong. Many entrepreneurs make the same mistake multiple times. I can give you many examples but some (even mundane ones) include:

    – attending too many trade shows. as an first-time entrepreneur you think you can’t miss them. You pay $10-25k to have a booth. Often you don’t convert enough to make it worth the time.
    – not firing people fast enough for poor performance or a bad attitude
    – giving out too much equity to board advisors
    – focusing too much on your competitors features and not enough on the customer
    – etc., etc.

    Second time entrepreneurs bring a rich set of experiences that gives them better judgment if they’re willing to understand, codify and correct their mistakes.