“Far Better Is It To Dare Mighty Things”

THERE'S A QUOTE FROM U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt that sums up my philosophy on winning in business:

"Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs even though checkered by failure, than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much because they live in the gray twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat."

The bottom line is: you simply can’t succeed if you’re not willing to take some risks. And, sometimes, that has required Kiri and me to put it all on the line for a business we believe in. In the past, we’ve mortgaged everything we owned and put millions on the line to launch businesses. But, we’ve done it fully expecting those businesses to succeed. And we’ve done it knowing full well that if it failed and we lost it

all, we'd be quite capable of picking it up and starting again.

During the 2007 Diligent IPO, I was criticized for not making a public disclosure about my 1987 involvement with Energycorp and resultant bankruptcy. I was stung by this because I’ve always been up front. This stuff was so ancient that both myself and my legal advisors concluded that such a disclosure was irrelevant.

You can be sure that I’ve picked myself up and won’t be making that mistake again. With that said, as the testimonials on the home page show, it was my belief that general investors were well aware of any risks and invested with a full knowledge of what those risks were — and they’ve been rewarded enormously by going the distance on their Diligent investment.

Legendary Entrepreneurs Who Took Risks — Failed At First
— Then Created Enormous Success

Successfully launching a business requires a bit of risk-taking and a lot of hard work and determination. While my failures have been few and far between, I take great inspiration from the fact that many of the world’s biggest business successes started with a failure or two. I especially like the words of Sir Richard Branson: "You fail if you don’t try. If you try and you fail, yes, you’ll have a few articles saying you’ve failed at something. But if you look at the history of American entrepreneurs, one thing I do know about them: An awful lot of them have tried and failed in the past and gone on to great things."

Steve Jobs

Besides dropping out of college and later being forced out of his own company (Apple), probably half of the major ventures he engaged in didn’t pan out. However, Jobs was a visionary who pursued his ideas with focused determination and an uncanny ability to overcome failure. He became incredibly wealthy, is universally admired, and played a major role in creating life-changing devices such as the iPod, iPhone and iPad — and created an amazing motion picture studio in Pixar.

Bill Gates

Gates didn’t seem like a shoe-in for success after dropping out of Harvard and starting a failed first business with Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen called Traf-O-Data. While this early idea didn’t work, Gates’ later work did, creating the global empire that is Microsoft.

Walt Disney
The Walt Disney Company

Today Disney makes billions from merchandise, movies and theme parks around the world, but Walt Disney himself had a bit of a rough start. He was fired by a newspaper editor because, “he lacked imagination and had no good ideas.” After that, Disney started a number of businesses that didn’t last long and ended with bankruptcy and failure. He kept plugging away, though, and eventually found a recipe for success that worked — big time!

Henry Ford
Ford Motor Company

While Ford is today known for his innovative assembly line and American-made cars, he wasn’t an instant success. His first company — Detroit Automobile Company — went bankrupt in 1901. His second company — Henry Ford Company — collapsed due to a fight with a partner. In fact, his early businesses failed and left him broke five times before he founded the successful Ford Motor Company.

Soichiro Honda
Honda Motor Company

The billion-dollar business that is Honda began with a series of failures and fortunate turns of luck. Honda was turned down by Toyota Motor Corporation after interviewing for a job as an engineer — leaving him jobless for quite some time. So, he started making scooters of his own at home and, spurred on by his neighbors, finally started his own business — which eventually grew into the global Honda Motor Company.

Akio Morita
Sony Corporation

You may not have heard of Morita, but you’ve certainly heard of his company, Sony. Sony’s first product was a rice cooker that unfortunately didn't cook rice so much as burn it, selling less than 100 units. This first setback didn’t stop Morita and his partners as they pushed forward to create Sony — a multi-billion dollar company.

Harland Sanders
Kentucky Fried Chicken

Better known as Colonel Sanders of Kentucky Fried Chicken fame, Sanders had a hard time selling his chicken at first. In fact, his famous secret-spice chicken recipe was rejected 1,009 times as he took it in his car and drove the countryside in search of business partners before a restaurant finally accepted it.

Milton Hershey
The Hershey Company

Milton Hershey always knew he could make candy, but running a successful business seemed just out of his reach. After many failures, he returned home to Pennsylvania and founded the successful Lancaster Caramel Company. He later sold the caramel company for $1 million so he could focus on perfecting a milk chocolate formula. Once he finally nailed the recipe down, he was too rich (and too flush with delicious chocolate) for anyone to remember the flops of his early candy ventures.