Fear almost prevented Kevin Rose from starting Digg. Now, as a partner at Google Ventures, Rose advises other entrepreneurs on conquering the fear of failure.
Trusting myself was still a challenge, even while building Digg. As a result, one big mistake I made was giving away a lot of control rather than figuring things out on my own. I hired a CEO in the first six months, and started bringing in outsiders to take over the pieces of the business that I was unfamiliar with. Because I wasn’t formally trained in business, I felt like I needed to hand responsibility off to someone else. I learned a lot from these people, but if I could do it again, I would have taken the Zuckerberg approach: If you don’t understand something, you don’t hand it off. You surround yourself with people who can bring you up to speed.
Then there’s a whole other breed of people waiting in the wings. These are the people I meet who come up to me at conferences, looking for validation. If there’s any piece of advice that I have, it’s that if you have an itch you need to scratch, something you feel needs fixing, no one else is going to build it for you. You shouldn’t look to someone else for validation. You have to really believe in yourself and know that, worst-case scenario, if it doesn’t work out, you still built something really cool.
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