In a recent blog called Digital Disruption I talked about the issues that established companies have from start-ups unencumbered by assets, infrastructure and thinking that locks them in and prevents them from innovating. The ability to look at the current world through fresh eyes and identify the opportunities would seem to be perfect. Now is the time for everyone to be an entrepreneur. Or is it?

As the video below shows, companies and industries are disappearing.

Brian Solis is principal at Altimeter Group, a research firm focused on disruptive technology, and the research for his latest book WTF (What’s The Future) his has revealed some frightening statistics on the failure rate of new businesses.   He has put them together in an infographic which you can access here and makes fascinating reading.

Summary: If you survive 1 year you are doing well, but if you survive 5 years you are remarkable.

Entrepreneurs focus on success not failure

As frightening as the statistics are, it does not stop the true entrepreneur. If you focused on the raw numbers, you would be paralyzed and do nothing. A couple of passing thoughts:

  • Nimbus was 14 years old before we were acquired. We didn’t realize how special that made us.  We just focused on driving the business forward, day by day. And the founding team were still with the business when it was acquired. And even more remarkable is that the CEO (me) was one of the founders, something that is coming back into vogue as the recent Fortune Magazine article highlighted.
  • For the Nimbus founders, it was their 3rd venture together. Yes, the 2 previous were not a success, but not such a failure that they extinguished the entrepreneurial fire.
  • Some of the Nimbus founders are now launching their next venture – – rather than retiring to the South of France or becoming career non-exec’s.

Now is the time for opportunity

Despite the economic backdrop and the scary statistics of Brian Solis’ latest book the 4 Nexus of Forces identified by Gartner are opening up unprecedented possibilities. As Vivek Ranadive, TIBCO CEO and Founder often quotes from Dicken’s Tale of 2 Cities – “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…” to illustrate that you can look at the current changes as dire problems or massive opportunities.

Now is the time that real entrepreneurs look at the title of Brian Soli’s book WTF and see not “What’s The Future” but instead read it as “What The F*ck” and just get on with creating the next game changing business, despite the risks and challenges.




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