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Meet William Wolfram Founder of Fail Ventures

January 17, 2024
4 mins read
William Wolfram Founder of Fail Ventures
William Wolfram Founder of Fail Ventures

William Wolfram is the founder and CEO of Fail Ventures, a venture studio that celebrates failure.

William was born in Helsinki, Finland, and started his first business at 12.

William’s unique background includes dropping out of school at 15.

At age 16, he was a self-made millionaire with $10M+ in profitable sales and $40M in good deals.

He turned 20 years old. At age 28, the young entrepreneur had already made over $500M in online sales.

He was named Finland’s National EY Entrepreneur of the Year for 2013.

This award recognizes his entrepreneurial efforts and the creation of jobs.

He is also a Harvard Business School graduate who completed the 3-year OPM program.

He is now the founder of Fail—VC, an entrepreneurial venture studio in Hong Kong that encourages risk-taking and failure.

Fail Ventures: Where did it all come from?

It’s not easy to create successful online ventures.

Anyone who has attempted it will be able to tell you.

There is a lot of competition online.

Even great ideas and brilliant execution may not be enough.

We have learned that the key to success over the past 15-years is not giving up.

It’s about building new ideas and launching them with enthusiasm every time.

Even when you fail, get up and continue swinging.

Although our business may appear to be a success from the outside, the reality is that we have been consistently falling over the past 15 years.

There have been 68 ventures. Only four of these ventures were successful.

The four successful ventures were able to cover the costs of all 64 failed ventures multiple times.

Each failure taught us something new. This is why I created a company that encourages loss and celebrates the entrepreneurial spirit in my team.

Fear of failure is a significant factor in people being unable to innovate.

I want to change this and unleash the creativity in all of us.

Many of our employees started in entry-level positions, have since become financially independent, and have built wealth.

Some of our employees have created their businesses and have done exceptionally well.

Others have become successful CEOs or executives who manage these businesses fully autonomously.

Accepting failure doesn’t mean being lazy, but it does mean trying your best.

It just means taking risks and not worrying about other people’s thoughts if it doesn’t work out.

Accepting that you may have to lose sooner and being open to admitting mistakes is a good thing.

Anyone can come up with innovative and outside-the-box ideas.

How about embracing failure in our lives and careers to unleash the creativity within us all?

How do you stay productive?

I spend a lot of time thinking up new ideas. Flaring is what we call it.

Flaring is a type of brainstorming in which we draw on each other’s ideas to create new ones and then say “Yes!”.

Once we have a clear vision, we can work on building it.

Depending on the idea, it can take anywhere from a few weeks to many years.

After identifying a profitable venture, we create a management team and select a CEO.

A genuinely talented CEO can turn a business into a $100M-plus revenue stream if given a chance.

My job is to take a business from zero to one.

Their job is to make it scale to an order of magnitude larger.

Although giving up your CEO role is not easy, it must be done.

Some specialize in making money from $1M to $100M+, and others excel at moving from one to the next.

It isn’t easy to excel at both.

​How do you bring ideas to life?​

It’s an honor to work with such extraordinary people.

We love to read and are always curious about the world.

WhatsApp is our primary tool.

We share exciting things every day, and when we have an idea or a new insight, we share them.

What’s your favorite trend?

20-minute delivery times for e-commerce businesses.

Food delivery startups have built an infrastructure over the years that will allow them to tap into new areas of eCommerce and create a new type of commerce.

​What habits make you productive?

Reading is something I love to do. I enjoy learning from people with different perspectives and sharing my thoughts.

I like to change my environment to find new ideas.

Spending time outdoors is my best option to discover new ideas.

To get inspired and to think, I go hiking or sailing.

What’s your advice for the Noob?

Continue to persevere, be patient, and enjoy your journey.

What is one thing we can all agree on?

Only “artists” will survive. AI and software will automate more of the high-paying jobs.

AI will take longer to replace high-paying jobs that depend on human creativity.

Creativity should be emphasized in education and the workplace.

Leaders can make a real difference in doubling or tripling the imagination of their teams by doing practical things.

​What do you recommend as an entrepreneur?

You can speak directly with customers over the phone.

It’s a great way to learn and get a good idea of what’s working.

What’s your rich strategy?

Interview at least 100 top candidates for each person you hire.

Talent is our obsession. I’ve always tried to hire people who are smarter than me.

Every person I work with is teaching and learning new things.

Hiring quickly when there aren’t enough people is tempting, but it must be stopped.

How do you overcome Failure?

One failure… Where do I begin? Fail Ventures is the name of our company.

We have failed more than a dozen times for every success.

Failure is to be celebrated. Then you can pick yourself back up and continue winning.

​Can you share a business idea?​

Thanks to the growth of food delivery startups, E-commerce will be able to deliver food in 20 minutes.

This is a massive opportunity that the right brands can capitalize on.

This is something I am constantly thinking about.

Someone’s going to create and capitalize on a lot of this value.

It’s not clear which part of the value chain will be most successful, but it is clear that there is something to be done.

What’s your recent best buy? ​

Covid-19 test. It is essential that I can meet my parents and older relatives without fear of giving them COVID-19.

What are your favorite Softwares or Apps?

WhatsApp is my preferred method of communication over email.

Keeping in touch with friends and family is easy by having casual conversations.

Which book would you recommend?

The Innovators’ Dilemma.

​What’s your favorite quote?​

“Regardless of whether you believe you can, you are correct in your belief.”

TL;DR by William Wolfram

To create an environment that encourages innovation and fosters entrepreneurial risk-taking, embrace failure.

Pay attention to the talent. Interview at least 100 people before you hire.

Hire people who are more intelligent than you!

Have fun, and don’t take it too seriously.

Enterprenuer

Enterprenuer is a social interview and story publishing platform for entrepreneurs, founders, businessmen, businesswomen, startups, and anyone who inspires people globally.

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