Career Failure Full Interview Interview

That “Oh Sh&*!” Moment and How To Get Through It

Why Give a Damn:

Yes, Manoj Sinha holds 10 US patents. That only scratches the surface. Manoj speaks about how to handle those “Oh Sh&*!” moments in your startup.

If we lose a million dollars that would be the demise of the company.
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Bio: Manoj Sinha is the Co-Founder of Husk Power Systems, an organization’s whose objective is to electrify rural India. Husk Power Systems converts rice husks, an abundant waste product for Indian villagers, into biogas. These biogas can then be captured to produce affordable electricity. By the end of 2010, Husk Power Systems will have successfully electrified 125 villages and hopes to expand its services to over 5,000 villages, providing electricity for over 20 million people. He received an MS in Electrical and Computer Engineering from Amherst and completed his MBA at the University of Virginia. Manoj and his founding team were named “social entrepreneurs of the year” by Fast Company and Husk Power Systems was named “top student innovation” by the New York Times in December 2008. Manoj has secured investment from the Acumen Fund and the Shell Foundation and won the Draper Fisher Jurvetson – Cisco Global Business Plan Competition. He is an alumnus of the Global Social Benefit Incubator program, previously served as a microprocessor designer at Intel, and holds 10 U.S. patents.

The things that scare me most are the things that transcend me most too.
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  • Leija2014

    Thank you for sharing this article. I love reading about entrepreneurs and their innovations because they’re always coming up with new ideas to help developed countries. From Solar Ear to the Prakti stove, it’s amazing with what we can do with our natural resources. I thought it was amazing how we are able to make biogas from rice husks! And the fact that he has already electrified 125 villages is an amazing accomplishment!

  • Brandon

    Thank for this article!! these moments happen to us humans all the time. My dad has his own company and there some years he may not have a good year because of mother nature and others he has an excellent year. How do we learn from it and make sure it doesn’t happen again?

  • vitalecm03

    This is very inspiring! I will forever remember this because with mistakes there are success and we should not let one mistake bring us down and feel discouraged for wanting to continue moving forward. No one should be scared to take a chance on something that may not work because there will be other opportunities where we take a chance on something that will work. Thank you!

  • lepkowskjj29

    i agree that we shouldn’t allow one mistake to discourage us. its like the saying “you don’t know unless you try.” You cant be afraid of failing if you’ve never tried anything.

  • Kait Harman

    It is very interesting hearing you talk about an “oh shit” moment in businesses and how different it is from a moment like that I would have in teaching. We all have those moments but when starting up a business it could cost you the business and in teaching it could cost me my job. In the end it is similar consequences but my question is what if you are that person in a business that is just starting up and your little mistake costs everyone their job. Could anything else happen to that person such as law suits?

  • Alexandra Helena Marie Nicolof

    I like this post because it relates so much to my everyday life as a student. I consider myself an investor in my education and find myself having these moments at least a couple times throughout the semester. They are sometimes related to money, but more so to direct studies. I’m sure a lot of people can relate to a time when they accidentally forgot about an exam until the last minute, etc. In these situations, it’s just important to remember that life happens, and we can only our best to succeed! Thank you for sharing (:

  • Mcgrailkk30

    When faced with an “oh shit” moment I have to remind myself to breath and think it through. Like you said in your interview you have two options and you don’t know for certain which is the right option. All we can do is take into consideration what we know. In making this big decisions, how often do you “go with your gut.”

  • PKroening

    Thanks for sharing! I truly believe that all start ups and entrepreneurs will go through an “oh shit” moment. In order to do something you love you have to take risks, and sometimes those risks end up in the negative column. What are some ideas you have that can help people learn from their “oh shit” moments?

  • treehugger90

    I agree that everyone is going to make a mistakes starting up something new. Especially some kind of business. But we are human beings who doesn’t make mistakes? This video makes me think of myself in the future, when I open my own business because I know I will have an “Oh Shit” moment! Great video!

  • Keiichi

    Business people have to make one decision from many choices, the decision could be half million benefit or half million lose. I never had this kind experience before. but if I face up with this situation, I would be my best to make better result.

  • Jack Delabar

    I agree, Kelly. Take a step back from the situation, look at it from a neutral point of view, and then make your decision based on what you think feels right. This process may not always yield the best results, but in my experience it has proven to be the most effective. It may be a little nerve racking when it comes to half a million dollar decisions, but I have yet to come across one of those…

  • MeierKM23

    This was a great video to share. Every one has those “Oh Shit” moments because no one is perfect and everybody DOES make mistakes. Although I am not a business major, I do know they have to make some pretty big decisions from so many choices, and it could benefit them or not. People have to make decisions every day as well, ones we don’t even think about, and sometimes it just so happens to be an “oh shit” moment, but it is how we react to these moments that help us get through them. Thanks for sharing!

  • Palecekb

    This was a great video to share. It shows that even successful people can make mistakes at an even higher price than everyday middle class people. When the outcomes seem to be risky how would you encourage people to keep pushing forward and to risk experiencing the Oh Sh@* moments?

  • Janna Bartels

    Thank you for sharing this video! It’s great to know that others make mistakes. I think as humans it’s essential to know that you’re not alone in making mistakes. The real show of character is what you do when you make a mistake. Sometimes mistakes can lead to more mistakes… what then?

  • GrycowskAJ17

    This shows that everyone is human. Even though he has all those patents and knowledge he still makes mistakes. Every Oh [email protected] moment wont be a success, but if you can make the most rational decision on those moments you should be okay.

  • tjbaumeister08

    This is a great video, thank you for sharing! Nobody is perfect and it’s inevitable that we’ll make mistakes but it’s ok if we do. We should just turn our mistakes into learning experiences. How did you handle your first “oh sh&*!” moment?

  • duongh1

    I think all human beings make mistakes. It’s part of our learning process. However, I also think that after we make a mistake, the same kind of mistake must not be repeated again.

  • TeamGarvin

    Honestly I feel like that everyday in college. What decision am I going to make that will affect my future negatively or positively. The difference isn’t a million dollars, the difference however is my future and it is effected everyday by the choices I make. The thing to do is not to have fear, fear just panics you and makes you worry about outcomes that may not ever happen.

  • GraceFelion

    I can’t even imagine making a mistake that would cost a company a million dollars or even a hundred thousand dollars! Then again I’m not in a position where I have any massive decisions to make. It’s amazing what risk can go into having a successful business and how important that risk is. If people were always afraid of risks we wouldn’t get anywhere as a society. This reminds me that I need to make more risks in my life and to be less afraid of making mistakes. Mistakes are good for growth. What advice do you have for those of us who are afraid to make mistakes?

  • Daniel John

    I really enjoyed this video because it pertains to everyone. I like how he explains that mistakes happen and you may lose half a million dollars but it is more important to think about earning 5 million dollars. I couldn’t even imagine making decisions like that could make or break a company. I like the overall message of being prepared before you have to make a decision. This video was very helpful because I have made many bad decisions in college but it is nice to know that good decisions will come too. Thank you for the post it was very helpful for me.

  • WolfgramKA06

    Thank you for this article. It’s hard for some people to overcome mistakes, especially when it has to do with a whole company, but you need to be prepared for the worst situations. There has been times at work where I panicked when something went wrong and didn’t know how to handle it by myself. A strong leader will know how to reverse a terrible situation into a good one by being smart and not panicking. You just need to know how to learn from your mistakes and move on. My question to you would be, have you ever had a time where you made a mistake and you were “feeling down” about it for a long time? How did you overcome the challenge?

  • schrammjm26

    I really like this article because it can be applied to all aspects of life. It’s easy to get caught up in one’s mistakes instead of concentrating on bouncing back from them. Growing up as an athlete I was always told an athletes best quality is a short memory which I both agree and disagree with. One needs to make mistakes in order to improve and grow, as long as you learn from your mistakes then they were worth making. Someone who dwells on their mistakes will not succeed, rather its how you react when you make a mistake that you find out what someone is made of. I have never been in a position where a mistake has cost me hundreds of thousands of dollars, however, I think that the author brings up great points that getting past that potential mistake is essential to the progression of his business.

  • Marian326

    Thank you for sharing the reality of decision making as an entrepreneur. I believe that any mistake is one that can be learned from, and that can move someone and/or their business forward. I believe that life is made up of forward and backward steps, and that we can learn many things during the process of stepping back and propelling ourselves forward one more time. I think we need to be like an arrow, willing to be drawn back to be able to fly through the air to hit our target.
    What have you learned from the process of stepping back and regrouping, or gaining a different perspective?

  • reuhl42

    This is a very good choice for an interview. There are many times that I think about the company I’ve always wanted to start but then I always get stuck when I think about how much there is to lose if you do have an oh sh*t moment. It’s probably one of the biggest fears I have when it comes to a lot of things in life. This can apply to many everyday life situations you may get caught up in. One question I have is have you ever had a moment where it has made you second guess what your doing? And how did you get over the thought of just giving up? Thank you for this interview!

  • kolinjk29

    Wow what a great article! I believe that it is hard for people to overcome their mistakes especially when it has to deal with a large corporation. I have been in many situations at my own job where I am thinking to myself don’t panic you will get through this. Everyone makes mistakes they just need to know and be able to handle them. That is the only way we will learn to be more proficient and to get better at what we are doing. A question that I would have to ask is what do we tell people that are afraid to make mistakes or who are constantly making them over and over again?

  • Evan Hibbs

    Thank you for the article. I agree that everyone makes mistakes and should do their best to learn from them. I think people learn from their biggest mistakes and the hardest part is being able to get through the little mistakes that aren’t always as major. What’s the best way for you to re-cooperate after making a mistake?

  • Ryan Repta

    Thank you for sharing this video and article. This is the one thing that would make me shy away from starting my own company. One mistake could cost you your entire business, along with your life savings. Having confidence in the decisions you make, along with being able to live with those decisions are key, in my opinion. Did you have hesitations when you started Husk Power Systems?

  • John Darrow

    Thank you for this post. I agree completely with the message and that it can also be applied to more in life than just a business aspect. In a way when something goes wrong anytime in life then we have to take it upon ourselves to fix whatever it is in the most clean and swift fashion. I find the speakers credibility to be very insightful and down to earth.

  • Matthew Gust

    I really liked this interview. I’m sure we can all remember times in our lives when we have made mistakes and it cost us something in return. It’s important to trust yourself. If you believe in something strong and are good at what you do things should end as they should. Like the interview said I may make a million dollar mistake, but at the same time I’m also gaining a million elsewhere. Trust in yourself and the people around you to help you where you want to be. One question I have though is when problems keep occurring when is it time to just move on or quit?

  • Max Rude

    I think you summed this article very well. Getting threw a hardship from a big mistake is hard, but the ones who keep going are the ones that end up being people who change the world.

  • Taylor Schulz

    Very relatable. Everyone has those moments int their lives, but of course, it is always important that you see the good outweighing the bad. I don’t think that anything that is truly successful has been perfect without those “oh #$%&” moments. Learning from mistakes is key to being successful in my opinion! Thank you for sharing this article!

  • Kevin Weber

    Thanks for the article! I believe can relate to this! We all go through our “oh shit” moments. It’s how we handle them and learn from them that makes us better. Just because you have a bad moment doesn’t mean you’re no good. You also have plenty of good moments that you should realize and remember. My question to you is how do you handle the mistakes you make?

  • William Savoie

    Having “Oh Shit” moments is a bitter, yet necessary part of life. Because when you have those moments, you also have an opportunity to better yourself and your company. How we respond to adversity is when we show who we truly are. Making mistakes is how you learn to prevent them in the future. So, in my opinion, “Oh Shit” moments are a good and bad thing to happen. It may not be appealing at the time, but once you look back and see the learning experience it provided, you will feel somewhat grateful for the new information.

  • KevinThomson32

    First off, great article. We are faced with a lot of decisions each day and for the most part I believe we make the right decision, but of course we make bad ones to and thats when most of us will say “Oh Sh*t”, but it is part of life. We can either grow from these mistakes or keep making them and it happen to everyone and we just need to know how to get past them.

  • KevinThomson32

    You are absolutely right. No one has started a company and everything runs perfectly smooth, that is just not realistic. It is how we move on from those moments that count.

  • Jessica Andrew

    Thanks for sharing this talk. I really liked it because it showed that you shouldn’t be afraid to make mistakes. Go for what you think is right. If something goes wrong, then just get everything back together and figure out what happened. Anyone can get good advice from this because too many people are afraid to make mistakes. I know I am afraid to make mistakes. A question I have for you is how do you get through your mistakes?

  • kristinwagner32

    I have the same question. It seems here as the interviewee almost brushes off that mistake; however how would you handle something like that? Also how does one decide if that mistake was just too much and there is no where to go forward? Thank you for sharing this because I do agree with everyone makes mistakes and some have to figure out how to overcome those mistakes.

  • Jessica Walker

    I completely agree, at the time these moments may be unpleasant, but they are usually the ones we learn most from. For example, my roommate recently had a phone interview with a big time job, and not being as prepared as she maybe should have been she had to think on her toes. It was her first “real” interview, so she was not ready for the type of questions heading her way. Although she had one of those “oh shit” moments, she thought on her toes and pushed through. It was almost better in her case that she didn’t have a thought out robotic answer because it added adversity. So even though we may not enjoy them at the time, they are bound to happen, and don’t always make a turn for the bad side.

  • Drew Cox

    Thanks for sharing this interview. His ideas that state that we should be afraid of failure. We need to keep our head held high. Learn from our mistakes. We always have two options in life. Taking the easy route and taking the unfamiliar path that could teach life lessons. Losing isn’t always a loss, it could easily turn into a gain or a profit. As jessica asked how do you bounce back from a mistake and how do you build your confidence back up so that surrounding investors or employee still have faith and trust in your decision making? Thanks again for the share and hope to hear from you soon.

  • Ashley Nicole Rietbrock

    Thank you for sharing this interview. Being afraid of failure I think happens to everyone, but work hard so that we don’t fail and if they do fail people just need to keep there head held high and keep trying. Know that taking the easy way out isn’t always the better way. What life lesson do you learn from taking the easy way out. I just have one question if you keep making the say mistakes how do you work past that? Thank you, again for sharing this interview with us I thought it was really helpful for everyone.

  • katie bartlein

    After watching the interview, it makes a person feel more confident about making executive decisions. I bet its still a huge stressor and scary time to know that a possible flaw in your decision could cost your company such a large amount of money. It is also a good idea to have advisors of the company or trusted and respected people to help you make that impossible decision. Im sure with the support of others knowing that they too are looking out for the well-being of the company could make that decision a tiny bit easier. I guess my only question is, how does a person bounce back from such a huge mistake? If the decision made is the wrong one and the company loses such a large amount of money, how does one gain or build the ‘pride’ to make that money back?

  • Anthony Urbanski

    People make mistakes and should not be afraid to do so. Learning from your mistakes is key, the half million dollar mistake mentioned in the video is enormous but you can’t be thinking about it. In order to be successful you will have to take a risks, overtime your amount of success will out weigh your mistakes. What are some mistakes you have made, that turned out not to be as bad as initially thought?

  • Sam Kuchenreuther

    I agree with your point here, Anthony. The fear of failure is worse than failure itself. I have learned a lot from my failures and it has made me a better person because of it. What failures in your life have you learned from?

  • Sam Kuchenreuther

    I like this interview a lot! I have had many points in my life where I say, oh S***! I have made my fair share of mistakes, more than I would like to admit. But I have learned from them and have grown. Certainly 1 million dollars wasn’t on the line, thank god! But nonetheless, I can relate to what he’s talking about much like most of us. What’s the best way to deal with your mistakes?

  • kalscheuar30

    I like this clip because it shows that even successful people mess up. I think it’s important to remember so you don’t get so down on yourself when you fail. This guy is obviously more intelligent than I’ll ever be and is still humble and down to earth. Sometimes people who are higher up appear to be untouchable and perfect riding on their high horse. It’s very humble and real. Are you really this down to earth and cool in person? I hope that doesn’t come off as rude but my experience people that successful aren’t always this humble. (It’s a complement…for real)

  • Jen McKiernan

    I really like this video because it shows you have to take risks in order to be successful and the biggest the risk, the more success that could come of it. Mr.Sinha says that he knows he can make a half of million dollar mistake, but he can also make five million dollars if he’s successful so goes for it. It also shows you that everyone fails at some point and you must learn from that mistake in order to grow. My question would be, how would you begin to come back from such a large mistake and how would you gain the confidence to take a risk like that again?

  • clemonsel02

    I think this video shows the fact that not everything that you are going to pursue is going to work for you. It is a reality that by making some decisions could lead to large amount of money being lost but on the other decision you make all that money back an more. I feel like you have to take the risk to truly do something for yourself and be a true innovator. This is what people should take from this video is risk may not always work out but when it does it will be worth it. I was wondering have you been to a point where you were scared to make a decision about a large investment?

  • Caitlin Donohue

    That is very interesting advice. One thing that would be the hardest, for me, in being an entrepreneur would be knowing there is risk involved. This is helpful advice in dealing with things that do or could go wrong. What are some of the types of things you hold patents in?

  • Mcgrailkk30

    Jack,
    I have also never been faced with a million dollar decision in the literal sense, but what about those big life choices we both have had to make. Like what college and major to chose or what our plans will be after college. When you’re faced with the big million dollar decisions wouldn’t you want to rely on what feels right?

  • AmandaBrom

    Everyone has a hard time taking risk. Knowing that you could gain everything or lose everything. It is something that would scare everyone. Risk is also what can bring you happiness and joy as well. Sometimes you have to risk it all to gain it all. To me it is something I will always struggle with. Risk taking has never been at the top of my list and it would take a lot of debating for me to jump into something. This video was great advice and I hope one day I will be able to get over my fear of taking risk and just jump in! Thank you again for the great video!

  • Chris Williams

    I like this post because it relates so much to my everyday life as a student. I consider myself an investor in my education and find myself having these moments at least a couple times throughout the semester. They are sometimes related to money, but more so to direct studies. I’m sure a lot of people can relate to a time when they accidentally forgot about an exam until the last
    minute, etc. In these situations, it’s just important to remember that life happens, and we can only our best to succeed!

  • Leahrebout

    Love this thanks for sharing! Everybody has had numerous “oh sh**” moments and at the time it can be scary or overwhelming but we all have to make a decision in order to get past it. It is great to know that even when you have these moments and make mistakes in a business it can still be highly successful. What things do you take into consideration when you are about to make one of those tough decisions for your business?

  • Leahrebout

    I completely agree! There are so many things that you will end up missing out on if you do not take risks. However, nobody likes feeling unsure or uncomfortable so it is hard to get yourself to agree to the risk. It’s something a lot of people, me included, need to work towards.

  • Leahrebout

    That’s what I got out of this too. It is so encouraging to know that someone who is as successful as him still struggles to always know what the right decision is and accepts that he may make a mistake. Everybody is bound to make mistakes you just need to be able to pick up and move on from them continuing towards your goal.

  • faisal algannas

    Thank for this article!! these moments happen to me all the time, I love reading about entrepreneurs and their innovations because they’re always coming up with new ideas to help developed countries. I will always remember this because with mistakes there are success and we should not let one mistake bring us down for wanting to continue moving forward.

  • awither1

    This is such a great article because it shows that nobody is perfect and not every idea is going to be a winner. I can relate and apply this to my everyday life as well and benefit from that.

  • Faisal Algannas

    Thank for this article!! these moments happen to us humans all the time.
    My dad has his own company and there some years he may not have a good
    year because of mother nature and others he has an excellent year.

  • McKenzie Foster

    I enjoyed this article because not everything is gonna your way and there will be some unfortunate events that will happen. But that’s never an excuse to give up because people learn from mistakes!