Recovering From Failure
Recovering From Failure
4 minutes 01 sec
Managing Failure For Success
Managing Failure For Success
3 minutes 43 sec
The Makings of A Good CEO
The Makings of A Good CEO
1 minutes 44 sec
Managing Ego
Managing Ego
3 minutes 31 sec
Identifying A Problem
Identifying A Problem
2 minutes 49 sec
Career Failure Interview Technology

Recovering From Failure & Managing The Ego: An Interview with Kamran Elahian

Why Give a Damn:

Watch Kamran Elahian, high-tech serial entrepreneur, share his tales of failure, speak of the importance of entrepreneurship, and discuss leadership within a business.

I was arrogant, I thought I had the midas touch and could do no wrong.

Bio: Kamran Elahian is a serial entrepreneur, venture capitalist, and philanthropist with over 29 years of experience in the high-tech sector. He has co-founded 10 companies, 3 of which failed; 3 of which made exits, including CAE Systems (acquired by Teletronix for $75 million); and 3 of which went public, including Centillium Communications (which had an IPO at a $700 million valuation and achieved a market cap of over $4 billion). He is currently the Chairman and Co-Founder of Global Catalyst Partners, an international, multistage, technology-oriented venture capital firm that has invested in leading-edge technology companies in the U.S., China, Japan, and Israel. Kamran is also the Chairman and Co-Founder of the Global Catalyst Foundation, a private foundation established by the principals of Global Catalyst Partners.

Carry your failure as a badge of honor.  Tweet This Quote

About the author

Unreasonable Media

Unreasonable Media

As a company, Unreasonable Media is dedicated to leveraging the power of stories to shift paradigms and solve problems. That's why we have made almost all the videos you see on this site. Long story short, we are not your average production company. Visit our site to see for yourself.

  • i really enjoyed this video. to see his transparency was really powerful and to also know that he went through the process of failure and then got back up and try again. i just wonder how many people took that blow of failure and then just gave up. for him to be as transparent as he was i believe people will connect on a human level….like “ok its ok to fail and its not the end of the world”. Or “ok, i am not the only one”. Great article. best one that i have seen/read in weeks.

  • natebbeard

    Appreciated this as well. My mom would always give the old Proverbs line: “pride comes before the fall.” Seems like Kamran really had a humbling experience that he actually profited from in the end.

  • kalscheuar30

    These are my favorite kind of articles. Don’t take it personally but I love it when successful people humble themselves and admit that they failed. Not only that, but you obviously bounced back and got yourself back on track. It’s easy to pity yourself and never get motivation to get going again. I know you mentioned your accomplishments and said you were young still, how old were you?

  • Connor Driscoll

    Thank you for posting this great interview! I love this because it applies to literally anyone in all aspects of life, not just business. Everyone fails and people should not be afraid to own it and share their experiences in order to learn and help others learn. For example, when I mess up at work I often share the experience with my co-workers simply so that they can potentially avoid running into similar situations. Kamran, how old were you when all of this success inflated your ego?

  • sarahbrooks

    Thanks for sharing! I couldn’t agree
    more that many companies will face failure at one point in time.
    Whether it is a company or just something you do on an average day;
    failure will occur. What matters the most is how you overcome it.
    People have to be strong and work hard to have more power than what
    failure brings them. Have you ever let failure win at some point in
    your life?

  • duongh1

    I don’t like his board of directors. They could have used another way to deliver the bad news to him. It was amazing that he could still get over this and still became successful later on. I really admire him.

  • AmandaBrom

    Thank you for sharing your story! This article and interview is something that everyone should think of. When you are climbing the mountain to get to the top sometimes you hit a few hard spots. And I feel it is great to hear that you’re not alone. This is something everyone should do in their life. Wear your failure as a badge of honor!

  • Jessica Andrew

    Thank you for sharing! While listening to the interview, I was very surprised on how his board of directors told him the bad news. I felt that they should have done
    that in a better way. I am glad to hear that he got out of denial and moved on.
    He seems like he is a successful man now. Have you ever let failure overcome you?

  • William Savoie

    Very interesting article! Recovery from failure is essential in the business world. Of course, everyone knows that more than half of start-ups fail. Learning to turn around from failure and learn from mistakes is what creates success. It is important to study the failures of others as well because you can avoid making the same mistakes over and over. Failure is a learning opportunity and should be treated as such. The word carries a very negative connotation, but in reality, it should be treated as a common occurrence, not a personal shortcoming. Everyone in the business world makes mistakes and recovers from them. Failure is a stepping stone to success, not an obstacle.

  • Evan Hibbs

    Thank you for the article! This article and interview was very interesting. I think in any field it’s important to stay humble and hungry. When things aren’t going very well it’s important to stay motivated and find ways to be happy and content with the situation. Also when things seem like they can’t get any worse it’s important to know that it can always get worse and to appreciate success and reward. Sometimes failure is what people need to wake them up and keep them motivated. Which is more motivating, failure turned to success or failure during success?

  • Taylor Schulz

    Thank you for this article! I agree that failures can only build you up to become even more successful later on. If you fall down five times, stand up six. Staying true and never giving up is the real key to success. I don’t think that failure is every a bad thing, just a reminder and a lesson learned. After all, I don’t think any person with great success became that successful right away. Success takes time but sticking to your goals and continuing on regardless of failures and hardships can really do wonders. Thanks again for posting!

  • John Darrow

    Thank you for sharing this. I have to say, I love Kamran’s brutal honesty about the subject matter. It’s not only refreshing to hear people talk about things that have made them the person they are now but also hearing how the experience managed to shape the way he handles himself. As the audience, you can hear in his voice how much the effect of his firing influenced him go forward.

  • pinsolera

    I completely agree with what you’re saying here. In my lifetime, I have been through many hardships, but standing up after every dilemma is the key to success. It definitely looks like Kamran became much more humble as a young man and it seems “failure” has made him tougher and more optimistic. And if any problems do come his way, he will be able to handle them much easier.

  • Caitlin Snyder

    Thank you for sharing this article! I love the quote, “carry your failure as a badge of honor.” I appreciate the honesty within this article, because it is very difficult to find truthful people who can speak about tough subjects like ego management. Some people don’t even realize that they have an enormous ego, and that’s the problem. I know that experiences shape who we are; both successes and failures, and this is a great article to express that idea!

  • pinsolera

    Absolutely, I couldn’t agree more. Also, a great CEO will constantly want to be better and try to get better everyday and not become stagnant. That translates into a higher rate of success from my experience.

  • Ashley Nicole Rietbrock

    Thank you for sharing this article with us. I like how honesty Kamran was about the topic. It not easy to talk about failure because all people want to hear about success and it takes a lot of confidence to talk about failure. It is also, nice to hear about the rough subjects like ego management. For a person see both of there parents get let of a there jobs within 6 months of each other sometime it was hard to move forward, but they had to for me and my sister. I can hear that in his face that firing influence him to more forward and start bigger and better things. Thank you again for sharing this article.

  • Matthew Gust

    I really enjoyed this interview. I completely agree with what you had to say. I especially liked when you first talked about how being successful can lead to an enlarged ego. You hear all the time nowadays that people who get success get greedy and then blow it all away. Being humble as an entrepreneur must be very difficult, but it also is one the best attributes I can think of. I also like the quote, “carry your failure as a badge of honor.” People who fail and are honest and upfront about it already have a leg up on their next success. Knowing that you have failed and admitting to that is a sign of strength that all people look for. Does failure motivate you or does success motivate you?

  • schrammjm26

    I think many young men and women can relate to this VERY closely, or at least those with an aggressive drive. I myself can tell you that my first years of college I felt like I had the midas touch as well and was extremely arrogant. I convinced myself that any flaw was somehow not my own and somehow the fault of another. Through the years I have been approached by some of my mentors and they informed me what a change I had made in regards to taking responsibility and humility. I only use myself as an example because it is an embarrassing experience looking back at the overly cocky young man that I once was. I have gone through the stages of anger and denial and eventually made it to the stages of acceptance. I have not been in a position to handle millions of dollars in sales or other similar scenarios however I think most people in their early 20’s can relate to this video on a smaller scale.

  • Jazmine Williams

    I completely agree with you. I’ve also noticed that people
    out age have not been through many experiences in a career that can contribute to a distortion in their ego and therefore we think we are unstoppable go-getters. The only events may be socially and academic related which are easily forgettable and retainable. What I am getting at is, failures like Kamran Elahian’s termination make a person stronger and I feel events like that are necessary to learn from; huge wake up call! We learn that being over confident can backfire and make us look even worse.

  • DuCharmeDR11

    I like what you had to say about how being humble is an important attribute for all entrepreneurs. The question you posed was tricky, because I think motivation stems from a little of both. An utter failure can inspire change just as much as an encouraging pat on the back, as long as it is viewed in the right mindset with an optimistic attitude. The quote “carry your failure as a badge of honor” is difficult for me to relate to, because I see failure as a need for change. Yes it is great to see setbacks as opportunities for something else, but I don’t think failures should be welcomed with open arms. There has to be some degree of internal motivation. How does performance relate to motivation in regard to failure?

  • Matthew Gust

    I know it’s pretty cliche but the statement you learn more from your failures compared to your successes remains true in my mind. I believe it was Thomas Edison who said, “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” Edison seemed to embrace all his failures. I see failures as having a purpose. Now I will say it also depends on the degree of the failure. As well as if you make the same mistake twice. That indicates you haven’t learned anything at all. Why do I embrace failure? I embrace it because when you do succeed you understand the struggle and all the time it took for you to get there.

  • Frank_Stanek

    But at the same time I would argue that another lesson that I take from this would be that, while it’s important to not be arrogant, it’s equally important that you don’t let a failure completely rob you of your confidence. Too often when you are faced with repeated failure it’s very easy to begin to feel like you can’t win and that will just lead to more loss of confidence.

  • Zach Perkins

    It takes a lot of strength to be able to keep moving as your parents did. Thanks for sharing. Kamran went into a place where most don’t feel comfortable going. But, him doing this, should be an inspiration and very beneficial to so many people

  • Kait Harman

    This is very relatable to people who start out successful. Its great that he got a chance to experience success so quickly in his life. When things are going good we do not look at what could go wrong in our life because we are living a positive outlook at the time. My question is did you ever question what if you lost your job ? Did you think that was even a risk in your position?

  • Ashley Nicole Rietbrock

    I don’t understand when you said Kamran went into a place where most don’t fee comfortable going what do you mean by what. Do you mean him getting fire and going through that struggle? I do agree with you that it is very inspiration and beneficial and many people should hear about this story. I give him lots of credit of everything he went through and where he is now.

  • Joseph

    Exactly Frank. That was a lesson that i got from this article. You and others are going to fail at something in life. Its how life goes. But it is so important to keep going through all the hard times in life because thats whats going to make you a stronger person.

  • Chris Williams

    There are always there ups and downs in life, sometimes they come by surprise and sometimes you see them coming. I think the success of Kamran Elahian is quite impressive. Having that ego is what makes you be a good entrepreneur. It’s important to know you are good at your job. With out that failure maybe Kamran Elahian would not be where he is at today. Someone once told me that it is easy to fail but it is hard to achieve greatness. It talks allot of work to be good and not fail. success does not come easy. My question is ; does success have a limit?

  • Palecekb

    Great interview, I think that accepting denial is hard for all of us, especially me. I think that showing someone who went through it and experienced it helps a lot to say that hey everyone makes mistakes and we have to learn from it. How would you suggest someone to start to accept or deal with failure or defeat?

  • DuCharmeDR11

    I like the point you made about the significance of learning from failure completely depends on circumstance. For example if you make the same mistake over and over again, then you are not learning from failure. But nobody wants to fail, so sometimes when you don’t get exactly where you want to be right away, it can be the best motivation to try harder, or at least try something different. Everything in life is a learning experience as long as we look at those failures or successes in the correct light. How do you motivate yourself to make changes if something doesn’t go your way?

  • Josh Pritchard

    “Wear your failure as a badge of honor!” Great way to finish your blog Brom. This story/article was great. Everyone runs into barriers, you just have to find ways to get over them and win the battles.

  • Matthew Gust

    Something I like to do is go back to the beginning. I try to reevaluate what my purpose is. I need to get better at this but a lot of times I like to stick at my problems and solve them. I need to learn to move on. There is no reason to keep beating your head against a wall that isn’t moving.

  • DuCharmeDR11

    That is a great point! Sometimes I feel as though we get so wrapped up in moving forward that we forget what our original purpose was. I think it is important to stick to a mission, and being able to change/adapt along the way as experiences occur is something I could definitely improve upon as well. Working with others and utilizing checks and balances is important in keeping us humble as well. Do you think accomplishing a goal individually or as a group is more effective?

  • Mizu4TheWin

    This seems worth checking out. Though, the bio states that Elahian co-founded 10 companies, but only explains 9 of them. Might I ask where the last company went?

  • aopstad

    I like what he has to say. I really don’t like failure, to be fair who does but I really don’t like failure It was insightful on how you can learn from what he has to say on how to learn from your failures and move on and make sure you remember what you learned.

  • kyliekielsky

    This was a great watch. Very insightful, and he said a lot of things that are good to hear. Failure is never easy, and everyone needs to learn how to move on from failure and grow.

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