Fred Wilson: Hot Potato And Were Both Failed Companies

Justin Shaffer 400x300Failed entrepreneur?

Interesting comments by Fred Wilson about two New York startups that were recently acquired by Facebook:”You know, companies are failing. A couple of high-flying entrepreneurs came crashing to the ground recently. Justin Shaffer of Hot Potato and Sam Lessin of—both of those companies essentially failed. Both of them ended up ‘selling’ their businesses to Facebook, but those were really just—Facebook wanted to hire those people, and they wrapped it up in a ‘sale.’ But those companies were unsuccessful. They failed. So there is failure out there—like, right in front of us. We can see it.”

(Hot Potato’s former lead web engineer Matt Langer responded, “Maybe Fred and I have different definitions of ‘failure.’ Justin and Sam both built companies that Facebook considered valuable properties … when the single most important company on the Web considers it worth their while to acquire the product you’re building and the people you’re working alongside the absolute last word that comes to mind is ‘failure’.”)

Kudos to Fred for calling it like he sees it–publicly.  But we imagine he’ll trigger a bit of a backlash here.

Sam and Justin (and Fred) were all members of the Silicon Alley 100 this year.

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