11/23/11 | Uncategorized

Reading This Post Won't Help You (Hold Your Hand to the Fire)

By Sarah Tavel (Senior Associate, Bessemer Venture Partners)

Several months ago, I wrote a post about the four stages of learning. Implicit in the transition out of stage 1 (the “enthusiastic beginner”) is the fact that to really learn something, you need to try to do it, and inevitably, do it wrong.

Given the wealth of fantastic content out there in the blogosphere, especially when it comes to starting a company, raising capital, building a product, etc., it can be tempting to try to read blogs and hope that they’ll help you navigate potential road mines.

But if you are brand new at any one of these domains, most of what you read won’t really “catch” in your brain Instead, I find the best time to learn something is after I just messed up on that thing. So if you’re starting something for the first time, and find yourself making rookie mistakes like building too many features into the first version of the product, or not having your “elevator pitch” ready when you pitch a VC, don’t worry.

To really learn, you need to hold your hand to the fire. 

As Rob May of Backupify once tweeted, “Everything I learned about doing a startup came from doing a startup… not reading blogs about it.”

Editor’s note: Got a question for our guest blogger? Leave a message in the comments below.

This post was originally posted at Adventurista.

About the guest blogger: Sarah Tavel is a Senior Associate at Bessemer Venture Partners, where she focuses on the software and Internet sectors. Prior to joining Bessemer, Sarah was a consultant for a strategy-consulting firm and also founded a general-contracting business. While earning a degree in philosophy cum laude from Harvard University, Sarah captained the women’s rugby team and was a Harvard Scholar. She blogs at Adventurista. Follow her on Twitter at @sarahtavel.



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