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Highlights from our interview with Jamie Pride


A 2017 study by Deloitte found that a beginner’s mindset was a skill required by CEOs to be “un-disruptable”.  Apparently, the “eyes of someone who does not know everything" is super for generating fresh perspectives.

But, while start-up is the new black, says Venture Capitalist and serial entrepreneur Jamie Pride, most business founders will experience failure – even those who succeed.    

His book Unicorn Tears says start-up failure rate's as high as 92%. Here, he shares his great ideas on failure, success and founder flaws.

Are the days of Unicorns (start-ups with $1billion valuation) drawing to a close? Jamie says the days of multi-billion dollar valuations of businesses that don’t deliver beyond a great concept are coming to an end. 

Entrepreneurs shouldn’t focus on valuation. Jamie says they should focus on solving a real problem for real customers, more than worrying about being a $1 billion business.

“We need to adjust our relationship with failure in this country” Jamie’s popular start-up listed on the ASX but then tanked, losing $200 million in 14 weeks. Jamie said he couldn’t get out of bed for three months. “The U.S. has a far more liberal attitude towards entrepreneurial failure,” he says.

Founders can be blind to what the market wants. The #1 reason why start-ups fail is no market need. Jamie says a lot of founders delude themselves. They push on, thinking the market wants to buy their product, when, in fact, they don’t.  

Capacity in a founder is more important than capability. Physical, mental and emotional stamina, resilience, awareness, and adaptability are the key attributes needed, because all founders will deal with a large amount of failure, says Jamie.

You need to work on the things that need to be worked on. Jamie cites business magnate Elon Musk who called this eating glass.  

Start-up is the new black. "We’re seeing corporate escapees", says Jamie, "and many of them are not equipped for start-up. If you choose not to go into a start-up, that’s okay, because it’s not for everyone.

More than one founder can lead to an unhappy “marriage”.  While more than one founder gives a start-up a greater chance of success, Jamie's experience is that founder disharmony causes a loss of focus on proving out whether there’s a market need for their product.


  1. Favourite book?   The obstacle is the way by Ryan Halliday
  2. If you could co-author a book with anyone who would it be, and what would the book title be?  Scott Pape. The Barefoot Entrepreneur. Imagine the sales ;-)
  3. Best Advice you could share?  “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in awhile, you could miss it.” Feris Beuller
  4. What’s been your lowest moment, and how did you recover?  The failure of my public company. By rebuilding my physical, mental and emotional capacity and with the help of some amazing friends and family  
  5. Something we don’t know about you?  I play the bass.   
  6. Do you have a daily ritual?  Yes. I’m a huge believer in a morning routine that allows me to energise and focus on my #1 priority. The morning is the single most important part of my day  
  7. What’s the secret of success?  Discipline and building capacity (not capability).
  8. What’s a prediction for 2025?    We are transitioning from the age of ownership to the age of usership. Increasingly people just want the benefit of the service (think Uber & Marley Spoon) rather than owning depreciating assets (such as a car). 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:  Jamie Pride is a serial entrepreneur, venture capitalist and co-founder of The Founder Lab to help entrepreneurs, and a better venture capital ecosystem to support them. As an investor, he has raised more than $16 million in funding for start-ups via private and public markets, including completing an IPO on the Australian Securities Exchange in 2016.


The Growth Faculty Members can view the full video interview, download the transcript or listen to MP3 audio by logging into the On Demand platform:  View Jamie Pride’s interview.

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