Goldman Sachs asked 5 entrepreneurs about their ‘best mistakes’ — here’s what they said

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Goldman Sachs

Goldman Sachs held its fourth annual Builders + Innovators conference for entrepreneurs earlier this month.

The event brings together entrepreneurs from a variety of industries, and Goldman Sachs took the opportunity to talk to a few startup founders and CEOs about their successes and failures.

The bank asked the attendees about “the best mistake they ever made on their path to success.”

They also asked two of Goldman’s own investment bankers the same question.

Here’s what they said – and what the mistakes meant for their businesses.


Leticia Pollock — cofounder, Panther Coffee

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Goldman Sachs

“My best mistake as an entrepreneur was to not do my homework when we decided to move to a new city and open a business somewhere [where] we didn’t know anyone. If we knew how hard it would be, I probably [would have] never done it.”


Leah Busque — founder and CEO, TaskRabbit

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Goldman Sachs

“I think it was waiting too long to actually start my company. I was at a big corporation for over eight years. It was a really cushy job, and it was a big decision to take that leap and leave. But once I did, I realized that this was something that – I had control over my own destiny and I could really change the world in the way I thought it should be.”


Ramji Srinivasan — cofounder and CEO, Counsyl

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Goldman Sachs

“My best mistakes are the ones that I honestly had good intuition for and then the market or whatever didn’t work out. And I never feel bad about those because I trusted my intuition. The ones I feel the worst about is when I didn’t listen to my intuition – and those are ten times worse, inexcusable mistakes.”


Ken Lin — cofounder, Credit Karma

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Goldman Sachs

“Well my best mistake as an entrepreneur was actually not selling too early. I remember we had a couple offers along the way, and, you know, we lamented over the timing of the deal and ultimately decided no. And we would have never been the company that we are today if we sort of took the easy way out.”


Lily Kanter — cofounder and CEO, Serena & Lily

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Goldman Sachs

“I would probably say my best mistake is not taking enough money in the very first one or two rounds. I had a great friend of mine who’s an entrepreneur who said, you know, when they’re passing the hors d’oeuvres, take five.”


David Solomon — cohead of investment banking, Goldman Sachs

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Goldman Sachs

“I guess the best one is the one that does the least damage to the business. So there isn’t a day that I wake up and I don’t make a mistake – you just hope that in some way, shape, or form, they’re not the kinds of mistakes that really affect the business.”


George Lee — CIO, investment banking, Goldman Sachs

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Goldman Sachs

“I think every mistake is the best mistake if you consider it and learn something from it and it helps you move forward.”