My Failure Resume


Tina Selig, Professor of Management Science and Engineering (MS&E) at Stanford University

"A failure resume is a quick way to demonstrate that failure is an important part of our learning process, especially when you’re stretching your abilities, doing things the first time, or taking risks."
bill taylor fast company.png

Bill Taylor, Cofounder of Fast Company & Author of  Simply Brilliant: How Great Organizations Do Ordinary Things in Extraordinary Ways

"Many of us carry overly simplified ideas about the logic of success and how it unfolds, and those false narratives often stand in the way of actually succeeding.

competition I losing a pizza contest

It all started with a pizza contest. For three straight years I was not only the reigning champ of the Domino's pizza contest, but I would compete in the ice cream eating contest right before. 

That is until one year a total stranger showed up and demolished me. As I watched her say "I love Domino's pizza" and hold up her pizza box I couldn't help but feel ashamed. Honestly, I probably cried. 

+ what i learned

It was at this young age that I learned a vital lesson, there is always competition ready to steal your pizza title.

testing...testing I an epic book report...with my fly down

How do you scar someone from public speaking? Have them do a whole book report with their fly down. I will never forget feeling on top of the world as the whole class was attentive and smiling as I presented, only to be shattered and embarrassed as my teacher called me over to say, "Matt ya bahhhn door's open (he had a terrible Boston accent)".

+ what i learned

Before you do anything - speak, present, you name it, check to make sure everything is squared away and there's not a barn door open.


chasing after what you don't want I trying out with the atlanta braves

There I was, staring down the moment I had been dreaming of for my entire life. Atlanta Braves helmet on, cleats tied tight as I stood in the batter's box 60 million kids a year strive to be in. The only problem, I wasn’t one of these kids. I had built my life around this dream. Countless hours in the batting cages, endless travel since twelve years of age, it was the storybook ending. Except instead of a cheesy send off song, I thought to myself “What the hell am I doing here”.  

My whole life I was an athlete. From as long as I can remember I had identified as one. And up until the above moment it was working pretty well. I won a little league championship, a state championship, and even earned a division one athletic scholarship. The only problem was I never actually chose this, I instead let it choose me. And because of this lack of choice, I was miserable when invited to a tryout for the team of my dreams...The Atlanta Braves.

+ what i learned

I learned the power of choice, of consciously choosing everything you do in life, and how if you don't exercise your power of choice you create a snowball that eventually becomes too large to handle. For me, although I didn't understand it at the time, this snowball was following something that others told me was cool instead of standing strong in what I thought was cool.


stealth mode = loser mode I epic failure on my first startup

I launched a startup the summer of 2015 that I believed would "revolutionize investing for millennials by applying Amazon-like purchasing decisions (rating/reviews) to stocks". I had an idea, but little did I know there was more than making a killer pitch deck, forming an impressive team and sounding really smart. I worked tirelessly for 6 months creating a full 60 page business plan, hired graphic designers to create killer wireframes - at the time I didn't even know what that word meant - and set out to create a top-notch team. 

6 months and $5,000 days later, two months into seed investment talks with an Angel that my executive team had picked out and opened the door for, and this Angel looked at me and said, "this will never work", to which I could only sit there and nod as we had zero proof of concept and zero technical expertise. I knew something was the wrong when a minute into the pitch he was checking his phone and catching up on sleep, but what I didn't expect was that my executive team (composed of a public company CFO and hedge fund manager) fled, my business partner was up in the air, and I was left wondering"what the hell just happened"?

+ What i learned

Two weeks later as I sat in my pool of self-pity, I picked up a book called the Lean Startup, and with every sentence I had epiphany's of what I should've done.

I should've talked to who I thought was my target market instead of being in "Stealth Mode". I should've read like a phene about startups instead of thinking I was God's gift to earth since I majored in finance/accounting. I should've been actually byuilding something of value (MVP's) instead of spending $5,000 building killer pitch decks and working until sunrise making a business plan no one read.

When it came down to it, there was a lot of I "should have" done, but thanks to this epic failure my eyes were opened to a journey and a lifestyle I never could have imagined.

Also! If you want to have the same epiphany I had with the Lean Startup, I made a full 60 page application manual summarizing the Lean Startup.

Lean Startup Application Manual


In the summer of 2017 I had this crazy idea to run a 5K (3 miles). Of course I didn't think it was anything special, I played sports my whole life so my mindset was "I'll just force myself to finish, how hard could it be". 

The day of the race I totally forgot about it. I had a big lunch, downed a coffee, and even had a large cannoli right before leaving for the race. But hey, how hard could it be?

As the gun went off I started from the back and stayed with the flow. Then as we progressed I started slowly bumping up my pace. I started with one person, then two people, until I was near the front and feeling like I could go forever.

That is until about halfway through, when I felt like I got shot in my legs and like my insides had been lit on fire. At first I powered through, telling myself as long I don't walk I'll be fine. But 

+ what i learned

As I crossed the finish line then collapsed to the ground to rest I realized an important lesson entrepreneurs frequently overlook: PREPARATION IS ESSENTIAL. You can't just "start something" and "poof!!! Billion dollar acquisition". Instead you must prepare yourself to be the absolute best and smartest person at the problem your trying to solve. For example, if I wanted to win that 5k I couldn't just show up, I needed to train myself until my practice times matched the times needed to win. Imagine if Mark Zuckerberg just said, "hey, I'll write a couple lines of code then make Facebook". Hell no!!!!! He was creating varying levels of the Facebook his whole life until he finally cracked what we know of today.

So what do I do now? I actually train for my next 5k, as well as taking this approach to my professional life by compiling everything I learn into a master database I can always refer to.

Resource Database