The Real Reason Why Startup Founders Need To Fail

Why “fail early and often” is a self-fulfilling prophecy

Joe Procopio
5 min readAug 27, 2023
image by freepik

If I were to choose one nugget of advice that I would give to every first-time startup founder and serial startup founder alike, it would be this.

“Do not fail. Until you absolutely have to.”

One of my genuine dislikes about startup culture is its reliance on meaningless slogans and motivational platitudes in the very same way that large, soulless corporations rely on meaningless mission statements and company values.

Those things should have weight, but they don’t, because they’re usually just thrown out there by reflex.

Hence, founders are told that they must fail in order to succeed. They’re told they should fail early and often. They’re told that failure is OK, because it’s part of the process.

And to those people giving that seemingly sage advice, I always ask:

“Have you ever failed at a business? I mean like truly, disastrously failed?”

Guess what their answer usually is.

Spoiler alert: It’s no.

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Joe Procopio

I'm a multi-exit, multi-failure entrepreneur. NLG pioneer. Building & GROWERS. Write at and More at