Book Review: “The Good Fail”

– Lost 11 jobs in 12 months and everytime he was asked to leave, not because he was bad at the job, but because of his background (of being a failed entrepreneur with tainted background).

– Been associated with failed startups, legal cases?

A normal person would have had a tough time dealing with so many failures, but Richard Keith Latman has an interesting life to live.9781118250716_cover.indd

‘The Good Fail’ is autobiography of Richard Keith Latman, founder of MicroWorkz, a failed PC enterprise.

From his blog:

Many of you have asked for the whole story, all the details, the total thought process and perhaps the real inside accounting of how everything went down. Two years ago, with the help of some amazing writers and researchers, we begin to document, craft and develop the facts into a single manuscript. That book, now titled “The Good Fail”, is now in pre-production and will be in online and offline bookstores, Kindles, iPad’s and other devices in April 2012.
The publication of this book, part life story and part entrepreneurs reference guide, is the end of the Microworkz story for me. On April 3rd, when the book is officially released, this site and all the content on this site will cease to exist. Microworkz, both as a company and an idea, will have reached its logical and permanent end.
This is the last post I will write here and it’s not without a tear in my eye. Microworkz was a dream that I couldn’t make a reality. Microworkz was a nightmare that helped shape who I am today. Microworkz was a movement that helped change the landscape of computing. But, most of all, Microworkz was, I hope, the foundation of a story that will help entrepreneurs and future business leaders recognize and avoid failure.

Richard Keith Latman started Microworkz, one of the hottest Silicon Valley startup that rose to fame owing to the unique business model it had. The company went through its own roller-coaster ride – from running one of the hottest startup to going downhill, for not living up to customer’s expectation. The company, Microworkz was a pioneer in bundling free Internet access with extremely cheap PCs and was turning out to be a threat to bigger players like Microsoft etc. In due course of time, the company realized that it wasn’t prepared for such an attention and while media did play a role in company’s success, negative press resulted in consumer frustration and hence lawsuit by Washington state alleging flagrant disregard of consumer protection law.

Why would you be interested in ‘The Good Fail’ story?

Well, Richard Keith Latman’s failure story didn’t end with MicroWorkz. He also worked on another great product called iToaster, which was shelved later (great concept, no IP). And then he lost 11 jobs in 12 months, and all of them owing to envious colleagues googling about him and his tainted background.

Even after so many failures, Richard Keith Latman didn’t give up and now runs a successful automobile CRM company called iCarMagic. That is, he still didn’t give up and kept going forward is probably the only reason why you should be reading the book (and take a leaf from it).

Lessons learnt?

A lot. As an entrepreneur, you need to start taking care of paperwork right from the early days (Microworkz was selling ‘unoriginal’ version of Microsoft Windows, as they didn’t get the official licenses from Microsoft) to managing personal-business life.

Importantly, the book is about a lot of entrepreneurs who often fail to prepare themselves for “limelight” and end up being scrutinized for every ‘little’ thing.

Surely a book worth reading, no matter what stage of your business you are in.

My only peeve towards the book is lack of visuals (why isn’t there any pic of Microworkz PC?), which otherwise would have made it more fun to read.

Overall, a must to have in your shelf and if you are like me, go for the hard copy version!

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