Good Lessons in One Graceful Failure

You may heave heard by now that the P2P startup AllPeers shut down yesterday, which cofounders Matthew Gertner and Cedric Maloux announced in this empassioned blog post.

The reasons why AllPeers went bust are all too familiar — the interests/expectations of the founders apparently weren’t aligned with those of the investors. This was confirmed in a response to a query from Gigaom’s Liz Gannes yesterday.

But in Matt’s impressively cool-headed email, you’ll find a founder’s optimism that is worth modeling, too — especially in its emphasis on what still can be done with the product(s) of AllPeers’ “crazy dream.”

Basically our investors had certain expectations in terms of user base growth. We were very happy with the adoption of the product but they weren’t… The source code for our client is already open source, and we’re planning to put it up on an independent site like SourceForge or Google Code in case it can be of use to others.

There’s more silver lining here. We actually learned of AllPeers’ news first through Seesmic founder, Loic Le Mur’s blogpost entitled “The positives of an entrepreneur failing,”

It goes without saying that we think Loic has the right attitude here. Among the “positives” Loic takes from his friend Cedric’s momentary setback:

* Cedric, you have learnt a lot, possibly more than if you had succeeded
* I am sure you will come back later with another idea of business
* the important is to keep trying to be on the move, to do things
* do not listen to anybody who laughs at you, you tried, you did great things, and they probably never did
* it could happen to any entrepreneur and I have a lot of respect for what you did
* it is always interesting to understand why. [this idea didn’t work this time] I am not sure in this case, the idea was pretty good. Too early, no business model ? Unsure.

We enourage you to go back and read the comments on Loic’s post, too.

Remember Cedric and Matt, founders, if/when you’re faced with the decision to shut down your own company one day. It’s nice that they’ve maintained the perspective that there is always something to be gained from such defeats — even more, perhaps, as Loic argues — than from the victories we seek.

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