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Rejection or redirection?

Entrepreneurship is often romanticized as a journey to success, filled with tales of innovative ideas, exponential growth, and unimaginable wealth. But behind every triumphant entrepreneur lies a trail of rejection, setbacks, and missed opportunities and we all know how that ‘We regret to inform you’ email stings.

There is a relationship between entrepreneurship and rejection, but it can serve as a catalyst for innovation and personal growth. Rejection is a common companion on the entrepreneurial path, acting as a pivotal force that propels individuals to evolve, innovate, and redefine their journey.

In 1999, Larry Page and Sergey Brin wanted to sell Google for $1 million. They were rejected (by Excite). They then considered selling for $750,000 They were denied again. In the case of Larry Page and Sergey Brin, the rejection from Excite led them to push further and ultimately transform Google into the global tech giant it is today. As of July 10, 2023 google is worth $1517.04 Billion

Larry Page (L), Co-Founder and President, and Sergey Brin, Co-Founder, and President,(Photo by Kim Kulish/Corbis via Getty Images)

In 2000, Netflix wanted to sell itself to Blockbuster for $50 million. “They laughed at us,” the Netflix co-founder Marc Randolph said in an interview with Bloomberg. Netflix is now worth $195 billion.

Before the advent of streaming Blockbuster was a popular video rental store where customers could rent their favorite movies on VHS tapes or DVDs and watch them at home.

2000s Blockbuster was extremely popular. It was the largest video rental company in the world with over 9,000 stores and over 50 million members. Fast forward 20 years and now there is only one Blockbuster store left in Bend Oregon. Blockbuster didn’t invest in innovative models that would help it remain competitive such as Netflix.

Marc Randolph at the early offices of Netflix

In early 2005, MySpace was interested in acquiring Facebook. Mark Zuckerberg asked for $75 million. MySpace felt the price was too high.

In 2007, Myspace experienced a fall from grace in the social media space, losing millions of users monthly to the rising site Facebook. Some reasons that have been discussed widely were an oversaturation of advertising, slow load times, and a loss of innovation where features were concerned.

Chief Executive Officer of Facebook

In 2008, Airbnb’s founders wanted to raise startup capital. They were seeking $150,000 in exchange for 10% of Airbnb. They emailed 7 prominent investors. 5 of them sent back rejections. The other 2 didn’t bother to respond. Today, a 10% stake in Airbnb is worth more than $8 billion.

In a post on Airbnb CEO, Brian Chesky, said that the people who rejected them were smart people, he said, “I am sure we didn’t look very impressive at the time.”

He told the readers, “Next time you have an idea and it gets rejected, I want you to think of these emails.”

The rejection emails Brian Chesky received

Canva founder Melanie Perkins was rejected by investors more than 100 times. “Most people said they weren’t quite ready,” she said in a Ted talk speech. “Each of these rejections hurt a lot.” Today, Canva is said to be worth more than $30 billion.

As of today, Canva has become the most accessed online design tool that is used for creating resumes, presentations, posters, invites, and certificates. The journey towards global acceptance of the brand was not an easy one.

Melanie Perkins has not only established herself as a great entrepreneur in today’s fiercely competitive market, but she has also demonstrated her ability to compete and survive against industry heavyweights like Microsoft and Adobe.

The young woman was not immediately successful

These are just a few examples of 5 famous companies, there are a lot more. in this time, innovation is what is keeping businesses running and competing. You can look at Myspace and Facebook, SpaceEx and Mariane, Blockbuster and Netflix, Canva and Microsoft.

If you believe your idea is innovative and worth it? Go for it! It is not just rejection for business, it can also be personal rejection. Applying for jobs, diverse opportunities, scholarships and others… We all now how the ‘We regret to inform you’ email hurts.

But you have to keep pushing, you have to keep trying. The only failure is when you when you stop going.

Reeta Roy, the President and CEO once said “The only failure is when we don’t respond when our first attempt does not produce the expected results.”

Rejection may be a tough pill to swallow due to build upl expectations. But by reframing rejection as a valuable tool for growth, anyone can harness its power.

Believe in your idea

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