Hap Klopp

Are you afraid of failure? If so, you’re not alone. A lot of entrepreneurs, no matter what their business focus or industry, have a fear of failure in common.

Somewhere during our lives, we started to align shame with failure. But what isn’t understood or discussed is the fact that almost every successful entrepreneur is actually quite comfortable with failure.

My guest today on the Intrepid Entrepreneur podcast is outdoor market legend Hap Klopp. Hap ran The North Face for 25 years, is an ardent supporter of start-ups and entrepreneurs, and is the author of two books, the most recent titled “Almost.” That only scratches the surface on Hap’s amazing experience, which is detailed here.

Hap and I talked about his book Almost, which chronicles 12 months in the life of a Silicon-Valley startup that was positioned “on the verge of becoming a household name and being bought by ‘Big’ Silicon.” Aspirations aside, there are many, many facets that must be in place to create success on that level – and you can read the digest of all in the book. But the reason I wanted to host Hap in a conversation for my community? The fact that he underscores the reason Silicon Valley produces SO many incredible companies.

It’s because in the Valley, the role of failure is tantamount to success.

As Hap says, “Failure is really just applying the scientific method to business.” In science, a hypothesis is developed about how we think something should be. Then, we test it, and more often than not, our expectations fail to pan out. So we develop a new hypothesis and test that one, again and again, until we finally have a break-through. And after countless failed attempts, our hypothesis is verified by reality. And this reality is what makes things GO!

When you choose to listen to this episode, open your mind first. Doing so will literally enable you to re-program your sense of what it means to be successful in your business. It’s pretty powerful!

Hap knows the process of putting it all on the line and getting this close to ‘making it,’ through many of his ventures. His insight into the current startup economy is extremely insightful to anyone gravitating to launching a business. Get ready for a change in perspective, and a more healthy attitude toward failure, on this episode of Intrepid Entrepreneur!

And, this is a pretty important (possibly breakthrough) topic, so if you like this episode, please share it with a friend or colleague and give it a thumbs up on iTunes!



Bravery in Business Quote

“Mediocrity is a lot further from success than failure is.” – Hap Klopp

(click to tweet)


The Cliff Notes

    • When you understand what a consumer wants, you can apply that knowledge to constantly innovate and disrupt markets
    • The United States educational system doesn’t prepare people for what it’s like to fail. And in disruptive endeavors, failure is inevitable
    • Failure in business is really just the scientific method at work: You setup hypothesis, and continually test them against what you expect to happen, and eventually, after many failures, something works
    • A culture that shuns those who have failed in the past is very detrimental to progress
    • Those who are unwilling to take risks in business always leave tremendous opportunity to those who will take those risks
    • Failing is usually an essential step in fully understanding what’s required in order to not fail the next time
    • Mediocrity is a lot further from success than failure is




“Almost all of the big companies you hear about are run by people who have already failed.”– Hap Klopp

(click to tweet)


Habit for Success

Understand the role of failure in success, and don’t fear it. Whether big or small, failures lead to eventual success.





Design Thinking – concept by David Kelley

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