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responsibility

Not too many people knew of the website Wesabe – the first in a crop of rich internet applications (RIAs) – designed to help people manage their personal finances online. So, it’s no surprise that not too many people knew that the site went under a few weeks ago.

Marc Hedlund, the co-founder of Wesabe, writes a great post debunking the half-truths and misconceptions, while outlining the the real reasons why he and his brainchild lost out to his more popular competitor, Mint.

You’ll hear a lot about why company A won and company B lost in any market, and in my experience, a lot of the theories thrown about — even or especially by the participants — are utter crap. A domain name doesn’t win you a market; launching second or fifth or tenth doesn’t lose you a market. You can’t blame your competitors or your board or the lack of or excess of investment.  Focus on what really matters: making users happy with your product as quickly as you can, and helping them as much as you can after that.  If you do those better than anyone else out there you’ll win.

The one thing I would like to add to that is the lack of marketing (O_o). While Marc hits the nail on the head, analyzing what went wrong and what it takes to really succeed, the most impressive thing for me is his awareness and the refreshing candor in accepting the responsibility for the failure – something that’s not very easy to do, and something that doesn’t happen too often these days.

If we are not aware that we’ve failed, or worse, if we are in denial that we’ve failed, what are the chances that we will learn anything from the failure? Pretty slim, I’d say.

Nothing fails like success because we don’t learn from it.  We learn only from failure.” ~ Kenneth Boulding

I wish Marc better success in his future endeavors, and I’m sure he will be more successful, simply because he has learned from a failure that he was willing to accept the responsibility for.

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