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Adii Pienaar

Now working on PublicBeta. Founder & ex-CEO of WooThemes. Author of Brandiing. New Dad. Ex-Rockstar.

Making New Mistakes

A couple of weeks ago, I renamed my blog here on Svbtle to say "Making New Mistakes" (previously it just said "adii").

In doing so, I was paying tribute to two things:

  • My legacy and journey to where I am today, which has many more mistakes than you can imagine; and
  • My desire to try new things going forward, which inevitably means that I'll be making new mistakes.

The thing about me is that I wasn't born with the silver spoon in my mouth. I might have an aptitude for certain skills that have helped me in business and I might have certain entrepreneurial characters. But that's not been what has shaped me on this journey.

Instead most of which I know today is due to trial and error. I've tried so many different things in the past and because I didn't have pre-existing knowledge about these things, they had a high likelihood of failing.

I've made loads of mistakes.

Ultimately I've been lucky in that the mistakes I've made have been relatively insignificant compared to the success I've had. WooThemes today represents a big part of the net difference between my mistakes and success.


Looking forward and moving into the future though, I'm not able to veer too far away from this mistake-ridden path that I've been on.

I started PublicBeta, because I wanted to make new mistakes. I want to try new things and I want to apply the knowledge I've built up over the years. I want to be challenged and I want to figure out whether I can do it better the second time around. Having success with PublicBeta would be the ultimate validation and it would help me answer my own question of "Am I an one-hit wonder?".

Don't get me wrong though... I'm scared shitless about this new journey. It's not as if statistics and startup success rates are in my favour here.

Similarly, I have a healthy dose of fear of failure. I'm fearful of failing with PublicBeta and then being that guy that stepped away from his successful company only to never repeat that success.

But those thoughts spur me on. That's what I call a challenge. That is why I will don my wax wings and I'll be flying too close to the sun.

In a recent post, Jason Fried (CEO at 37Signals), said this about their new product:

"It’s just too easy to continue to lean on the things you’ve done, the decisions you’ve made, and the infrastructure you’ve already built."

I'm not special. I'm in fact very average in how I have a fear of failure.

I however fight that fear of failure by embracing mistakes and learning from them. Hopefully that means when I wake up tomorrow, I'm better equipped to walk this path I am on.

PS. I'm building an online learning community for entrepreneurs over at PublicBeta. My aim is to build a community of entrepreneurs that can help each other to overcome fears, learn from mistakes and get better at this thing called entrepreneurship. Join us now!

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