This book was written over the course of two years and would not have been possible without the family, friends, and colleagues who supported my work. Though the topic of failure can be educational, interesting, and even thrilling at times, it can also be depressing, particularly when the failure is our own. I am deeply grateful to those who opened up and told me their stories, provided references, and took the time to review my work.
Thank you, Ulrike, for your love in spite of my failures. Thank you, Dad— and all of my family—for your support.
Thank you, Lou Rosenfeld, for working every day to be the best publisher in the world. Thanks to JoAnn Simony for the tough love editing I needed. Your thoughtfulness extended beyond merely editing to empathy with an author’s long struggle. Thank you Karen Corbett, Ben Tedoff, and everyone at Rosenfeld Media for supporting quality publishing.
Thank you, Don Norman, for your gracious contribution, and thanks to Keith Instone, Michael Angeles, Scott Berkun, Paolo Borella, and Thomas Mann for technical reviews that made a material difference to my work. And special thanks to Lori Widelitz-Cavallucci for invaluable feedback and encouragement.
Thank you, Monica Camhi and friends, and Donna Fabyonic, for the generous gift of solitude.
Thanks to John McCrea, Chris Messina, Marc Hedlund, Preston Smalley, Phil Suessenguth, Daniel Burka, and David Evans for your courage to share difficult experiences.
Many people provided valuable feedback, ideas, interviews, and assistance. Thanks to John Ferrara, Mike Lee, Peter Jones, Tanya Rabourn, James Kalbach, Peter Van Dijck, Stephen P. Anderson, Lorelei Brown, Perry Hewitt, Jimmy Chandler, Austin Govella, Dave Moon, Nicolas Nova, Joe Bilman, Manuel Toscano, Karen McGrane, Peter Kaufman, Dan D’Ordine, Lindsay Lifrieri, Jared Spool, Sonja Cole, Fred Wilson, Rory Cumming, Brad Smith, Jennifer Jones, Andrew Hinton, Russ Unger, Camilla Grane, Gloria Bell, Belinda Lanks, Jason Grigsby, Andrew Holz, Walter Mattingly, Michael Dila, John Blackburn, Bryce Johnson, Kevin Cheng, Patrick Lowery, Matthew Marco, Amy Lew, Mark Skinner, Michael McWatters, Kim Bieler, Whitney Quesenbery, Edward Loh, Bret Lider, Brant Cooper, Will Evans, Trevor Van Gorp, Peter Merholz, and the staff at the Montclair Public Library. I’m sure my faulty memory has misplaced some names, but those I missed also have my gratitude.
—Victor Lombardi, Montclair, New Jersey, May 2013