Recently my Inc.com colleague Bill Murphy, Jr. highlighted the story of Brian Acton, who co-founded billion-dollar start-up WhatsApp after being turned down for jobs at both Facebook and Twitter. But if Acton's story proves that being denied your dream job isn't always a bad thing, Noah Kagan's experience shows that being fired from your dream job isn't always something to cry about either.
As a profile of serial entrepreneur Kagan on Frugal Entrepreneur points out, his career in tech didn't exactly get off to a flying start. His story starts with him chain smoking on his balcony. "He'd been fired from Facebook in part for spilling too much information about the company, much of it on his personal blog. He'd been warned by the Big Z," relates the post.
When your nemesis is Mark Zuckerberg
Losing a gig as the 30th employee at Facebook would be a knock-out punch for many, but Kagan popped right back up again. "Before long he founded Kickflip, a Facebook app, which then morphed into Gambit, a payment system for social games," the post continues. "By 2009, it was hauling in 17K per day."
Ah, a happy ending, you might be thinking, but here's where "the Big Z" (aka Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg) re-enters the picture. "The Facebook big man pulled the plug on Gambit's usage on the social networking site," the post explains. Gambit's crime? Running tobacco and gambling ads. "While many insiders felt Gambit was one of the most minor offenders, Facebook banned it," the Frugal Entrepreneur reports.
At this stage Kagan had sustained two massive blows from a tech heavyweight. Was he finally down for the count? Not at all. Not only did Kagan rebuild Gambit after the Facebook disaster, but he also went on to found daily deals for software site AppSumo for a grand total of $60 in start-up costs. It's now a multi-million dollar business.
What's the lesson of this remarkable story? Besides its obvious pick-me-up value for anyone who's recently been fired, Frugal Entrepreneur believes Kagan's experience has a couple of things to teach any would-be entrepreneur.
"First off, he is the embodiment of tenacity. Not only did he have the ability to bounce back after his initial snafu with Facebook, but he came back even harder," notes the post. Resilience is required for success, but it's not sufficient, however. You also need another key ingredient.
"From reading [Kagan's] blog, one can see that he's able to face what he did wrong at Facebook and not to simply blame it on someone else. Clearly, he took things he learned and used them in his future ventures," it concludes. If you want to bounce back like Kagan, you need not only determination, but also the humility to face and learn from your mistakes.