Failing to change the world

The new issue of Harvard Business Review focuses on failure. That’s not a topic you’ll typically see taught at Harvard Business School, by the way — nobody wants to pay $50,000 a year to get told how to fail. I read a good, brief article by Roger McNamee, who co-founded Elevation Partners (We blew our opportunity to change the world). He writes about how the firm’s initial success led to more money coming its way, which led to financial engineering and its ultimate failure of vision, and his departure. He ends with this grouse:

America has enormous creative energy, but its industries are dominated by lawyers and accountants, not product people. Thirty years of financial engineering and short-term profit optimization has impaired the ability of American companies to innovate. Silver Lake had a chance to change that. We were succeeding. Then we gave up.

There’s the whiff of sour grapes here, but also the scent of truth. It’s hard to know how to read fresh disappointment. I hope we see more on Silver Lake, its promise and its path.

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