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Steve Jobs: Learning from Failure

The co-founder of Apple and a serial entrepreneur, Steve Jobs, had a memorial service yesterday, Sunday. He was 56 years-old when he died from cancer on October 5.Although Mr. Jobs wasn't a franchise owner, he gave a now famous speech on what he has learned in life and business at Stanford's 2005 commencement that I think both franchisor leaders and franchisees can learn from.

Here's an excerpt of Mr. Jobs' speech.

So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something, your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever, because believing that the dots will connect down the road will give you the confidence to follow your heart even when it leads you off the well-worn path and that will make all the difference.

Fareed Zacharia, host of CNN's international news magazine GPS says the following of the commencement speech: "For my money, it's the best commencement speech I've ever read or watched. It has always struck me as so simple and yet so profound."

I completely agree. The speech is striking because Jobs doesn't speak of his successes but rather how he learned from three failures.

Some franchisees in moments of candor have spoken to me about how their setbacks, which looked like depressing disasters at the time, actually became valuable learning experiences. Unfortunately, franchise failures are something often overlooked by trade journals in preference of shallow success stories meant to sell. That's too bad because those failures are the stuff that help shape us, and help us learn.

Related Reading: The Path to Success Chart

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Don Sniegowski is editor of Blue MauMau, the daily news journal for franchise & small business owners. Call him at +1 (270) 321-1268, tweet @bluemaumau or email