Deep thoughts from the founders of failed startups

The fine line between tragedy and comedy has never been more evident than with these delightfully dreary declarations

Deep thoughts from the founders of failed startups
Credit: Pexels
Deep thoughts from the founders of failed startups

Man, oh man: Failure sure ain't easy.

OK, the actual act of screwing up may not take much skill, but dealing with the aftermath of a fumble requires elegance, grace, and more than a little humility. The esteemed philosopher Ellen DeGeneres put it best: "It’s failure that gives you the proper perspective on success."

Few groups know that as well as the ranks of startup founders. Startups topple over faster and more easily than caffeinated toddlers. And while the logos and websites may fade away quickly, the bruised egos take months of meditation to mend.

Lucky for us, that introspection frequently happens out loud and in public forums. The venture capital database company CB Insights has been compiling postmortems from failed startup founders for the past two years, and in addition to providing several important lessons we can all learn from the experiences, the missives present us with some sentiments so dramatically dejected, you can't help but crack a smile. (Hey, who among us can't look back at a low moment and laugh?)

Cue the sad trombone: These are the most amusingly bleak statements from failed-startup autopsies.

Welcome to startup hospital
Credit: PJL via Wikimedia
Welcome to startup hospital

"Whatever we did later to try to breathe life into it ... was akin to giving aspirin to a deathbed patient."

--Michal Bohanes, Dinnr

If they'd tried medical marijuana instead, those final weeks would have been far more interesting.

A million dollars isn't cool
Credit: Ed Gregory via Pexels
A million dollars isn't cool

"If you still remember my pitch: 'We already made $1 million. Let’s talk about $1 billion.' Maybe one day that statement will come true. ... However, it will not be with [this company]."

--Thuy Muoi, GreenGar

It's kind of like a Bizarro World version of that iconic scene from "The Social Network," with the Justin Timberlake character instead being a pragmatic realist played by Paul Giamatti.

Sequels are optional
Credit: Paul J. Everett via Flickr
Sequels are optional

"Business, much like life, is not a movie and not everyone gets to have a story book ending."

--Om Malik, GigaOm

Don't tell that to Giamatti, all right? Guy's already pretty damn unstable.

I'll show you mine if you show me yours
Credit: Pexels
I'll show you mine if you show me yours

"It’s easy to get tricked into thinking your thing is cool."

--Jimmy Winter, VoterTide

Ladies and gentlemen, we have our winner for "Best Use of the Phrase 'Your Thing' Since Seventh Grade."

Details, details
Credit: Paul Filitchkin via Pexels
Details, details

"If you’re going to be a for-profit company, make sure you can make a profit first."

--Uncredited team members, Poliana

It may be bleak, but you gotta hand it to 'em: That's pretty solid advice.

A minor problem
Credit: Zwaddi via Pexels
A minor problem

"I realized, essentially, that we had no customers because no one was really interested in the model we were pitching."

--Jeff Novich, Patient Communicator

Other than that, though, everything was absolutely peachy.

Just say no
Credit: Steve Wilson via Wikimedia
Just say no

"In the absence of my drug -- vision -- I was as weak as a heroin addict in search of his next hit."

--Michael Thomas, SkyRocket

New reality show idea: Startup Rehab with Dr. Drew. Whaddya say? You in?

Care to buy a ticket?
Credit: Miranda Sehl via Pexels
Care to buy a ticket?

"The chances of getting it right the first time are about the equivalent of winning the lotto."

--Jeanette Cajide, Blurtt

To be fair, the startup game has the advantage of also eating up all of your time and personal assets. The lottery really can't compete.

It's complicated
Credit: Shyamanta Baruah via Pexels
It's complicated

"People really didn’t really like anything about our product."

--Jordan Nemrow, Zillionears

Chin up, ol' chap: People really don't really like anything about wireless carriers, either, but somehow we keep going back for more.

Sweet as horseradish, gentle as Ronda Rousey
Credit: JaneArt via Wikimedia
Sweet as horseradish, gentle as Ronda Rousey

"I’m hoping ... that an entrepreneur or two might find this post and see that the grief and suffering they’re feeling does not make them the only sobbing loser in the world."

--Peter V. Therkildsen Schlegel, Admazely

Boy, this fella really knows how to sugarcoat it. If that doesn't lift your spirits, I don't know what will -- you wretchedly pitiful disappointment, you.