Portland startup founder Kevin Rose says the key to success isn't what you know, but what you're about to find out through failure.
Rose is the founder of aggregator Digg and three apps, including one that tracks his sleep. In his talk to kick off TechfestNW on Wednesday morning, one of his first pieces of advice was to welcome failure and to view each one as a learning experience.
Rose said he met Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg—and the first thing he noticed about Zuckerberg was his willingness to ask questions about things he didn't know.
"I've had many friends who said failure was something you don't discuss at the dinner table," Rose says. "The No. 1 common thread among entrepreneurs is admitting they don't know something. Failure just means I learned something new."
He also suggests that if something doesn't work, just move on to the next thing. The majority of his startups were unsuccessful, but a few worked out really well for him—and that ratio is to be expected, he says.
When asked about seeking advice from others in an efficient manner, Rose says to ask the best people one specific question to grab their attention because "the best people are going to be very busy." He suggested making contact through Twitter, LinkedIn and responding to their newsletters.
"The best way to get ahold of them is to say, 'I have one question for you and I need 30 seconds of your time,'" Rose says. "Very pointed and concise. That is a way I've reached out to people in the past."
Two of the apps Rose has developed are innovative self-care apps. So how does he manage to practice self-care himself while running multiple startups? He puts them in his calendar.
"You have to plan your day: I am actually going to make time for the important things," Rose says. "When you're making time for something, it's nonnegotiable. You've blocked it out in a calendar."
Over time, Rose said, he's learned the value of taking time for himself and how the brain is working even while a person is relaxing.
"It leads to poor decisions if you're working around the clock," Rose says. "There is value in not thinking about a problem. Your brain will work on it in the background if you put in a seed of an idea and are revisiting it."
One final thing he suggests to anyone looking to start their own business is to make sure you achieve something each day, no matter how big or small.
"Pick one win you want for the day and put most of your energy into it," Rose says. "You feel better about closing your laptop at the end of the day. It's important to pick that one win for the day."
TechfestNW, WW's three-day celebration of the entrepreneur in all of us, has moved to its natural home: online. Originally scheduled to host its ninth year in the spring, TechfestNW is now a virtual event starting today and continuing through Dec. 4. Go here for tickets and details.