Very interesting post on why “fail fast” philosophy might be ill-founded. I think partly this mantra is open to interpretation – if an idea is not working, do you wish to spend $10M on it and then realize it, or quicker? In the manner that this article refers to it, its valuable to learn and adapt, rather than to give up. In the manner perhaps originally intended, you dont want to dig too deep a hole before you realize you are in it.

Part of this mantra owes its origin to environments where staying alive is expensive – think high burn startups! One of the key levers I believe exists in the Indian market is to survive at very low burn rates, or even turn cash positive while still experimenting with the core idea. Secondly, many times, the key risk being taken is the timing risk – essentially how fast the market adopts a solution – think about all the dotcom startups that rejuvenated 10 years later. In this construct, the ability to survive and wait it out is even more important.

In the kind of opportunities described above, persistence is perhaps the biggest virtue of entrepreneurs. At the same time, the ability to adapt and improvise is the key to making progress. Like many other contradictions of entrepreneurial success, this balance between conviction and flexibility is the key.

Alok Mittal

Alok is a first generation entrepreneur, currently CEO and Co-founder of Indifi, a platform for small business lending.

Alok is a board member at TiE Delhi, and a founding member of Indian Angel Network.

Prior to Indifi, Alok ran India venture operations for Canaan Partners in India, with focus on internet, technology and BPO space. Earlier, Alok cofounded JobsAhead.com, a leading job portal which was acquired by Monster.com. Alok is a computer science graduate from IIT Delhi and, postgraduate from UC, Berkeley.

The views expressed on this site are personal views of Alok, and do not constitute an offical opinion of any company or organization.