Failure is an opportunity to learn
It doesn't take a genius to learn from your mistakes.
If a partnership goes sour, you can beat yourself up or make it an opportunity to learn.
Take a step back and reframe your mistake as an opportunity to grow. First, find out what when wrong. Then, take note of it to keep yourself from repeating the same error.
Don't view your education in a box. It's not something that happened while you were in school. The reason young kids learn so quickly is that they aren't yet afraid to learn from their mistakes.
View every problem as an opportunity to learn and grow.
(Oh, and one of the upsides of employee churn is that messing up a partnership with one person at a company doesn't mean you're done forever. They might move on and give you a second shot with their replacement!)
User or partner?
It made me think about the sometimes blurry line between users and partners.
Referral partners are a partner type, though it can be rather loose and unclear to what extent a user who refers is a true partner vs. just a user.
In Chen's example, Uber offered drivers $500 referral bonuses, accelerating growth. Were drivers partners or users?
It doesn't need to be crystal clear. As the steward of an ecosystem, you want to encourage growth to happen spontaneously. It could be through referrals, virality, or deep integrations.
As Alex Komoroske says, "be a gardener, not a builder."
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