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Lesson #1: “If you get knocked down, get back up again”
"You know you're gonna have failures, there's no way to avoid it. Especially if you're an entrepreneur, if you're doing something new, of course there are gonna be mistakes. How can you not make mistakes? You don't know what you're going; it's unchartered territory," says Hawkins. Indeed, in his long-held position on the edge of new and cutting-edge video game and console technology, Hawkins has consistently chosen to navigate unchartered waters.
Still, he says he has been able to do so thanks to his willingness to make and learn from his mistakes. "You have to have the kind of personality where you're resilient and you can get up and keep moving and learn what there is," says Hawkins. "What I tell my employees is, ‘I want you to make mistakes. If you're not making mistakes, you're not trying hard enough. But, when we make a mistake, let's all study it. Let's all learn from it. After that, we want to make different mistakes. We don't want to keep making the same mistakes.'"
That is one lesson Hawkins learned the hard way. "I've done everything possible that you could do wrong...I've seen what happens when the whole house burns to the ground. It's not a lot of fun," he says. "But the important thing about mistakes is to study them and figure out what learning there is that you can extract from it, and then get up off the floor and get moving."
In fact, that mentality is one of the number one things that sets successful entrepreneurs apart from the culture that exists in big business, according to Hawkins. "You know what big companies do around mistakes? Number one, everybody tries to avoid making them, so nobody ever does anything very interesting that's new. And, if a mistake gets made, they try to cover it up, or they try to use it to win a political battle by blaming somebody else that's a rival. Not very productive."
Entrepreneurs who embrace that culture will not last long, he says. "If you have that behaviour in a small company, that small company is going to fail - no question. You've got to have a culture that says, ‘Hey, if there's a problem, we've all got to be talking about it because there is something for everybody to learn, and it's perfectly ok to make mistakes'. What is not ok is to not learn and to make the same mistake again."
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