5 Entrepreneurs That Got Fired From Their Startups

We’ve all heard of big companies like Apple, Zynga, Uber, Groupon, Tesla. While making career plans, we all have come across inspiring success stories of its founders.

But did you know that these successful names were also fired from their companies at the time, and some even returned to their companies some time later.

Apple, Steve Jobs / “The best thing that ever happened to me was getting fired”

Steve Jobs, who founded Apple in his family’s garage at the age of 20, was fired from his company at the age of 30. The board rejected Steve Jobs’ plan to increase sales by shifting the marketing budget from the Apple II to the Macintosh Office.

Jobs was removed from the leadership of the Macintosh team and forced to leave the company. According to the CEO of the time, John Sculley, the fact that Macintosh Office was not a powerful computer was one of the reasons why the product could not be sold. Sculley was right on this issue, which was moved to the board of directors because there was no agreement, and it was decided to suspend Steve Jobs.

Then Jobs left the company and founded two new companies (NeXT and Pixar).

“I’m sure none of this would have happened if I wasn’t fired from Apple,” Jobs said. I couldn’t see it at the time, but getting fired from Apple was the best thing that ever happened to me.”

He then returned to the company as Apple’s CEO in the late ’90s and made history.

Uber, Travis Kalanick /“I’ll be back like Steve Jobs!”

Travis Kalanick, the founder of Uber, which allows non-taxi vehicles to be used as taxis, and one of the big names who contributed to increasing the company’s value to 70 billion dollars after 9 years.

Financial problems experienced in 2016, accusations of harassment and discrimination were made against him. Kalanick, whose share percentage fell as a result of his investments, lost power on the board of directors and the accusations against him damaged his position in the company. Kalanick, who was initially put on leave after investigations, was forced to resign after a week and left his position as CEO.

It is alleged that Kalanick made statements such as “I will return to my company like Steve Jobs”. However, still to this date, he has no intention of returning.

Groupon, Andrew Mason / “Just kidding, I just got fired today”

Groupon, which sells discount coupons, was founded in 2008 by Andrew Mason. The company, which opened to many countries, including Turkey, experienced unfortunate series of events after going public and being put on the stock market.

Its CEO, Andrew Mason, was blamed for the failure of the company, which was rapidly declining from its public offering. He was named among the worst CEOs of 2012 by Businessweek Magazine, then wrote in his 2013 resignation letter, “After four and a half busy and wonderful years as Groupon CEO, I’ve decided I want to spend more time with my family. Just kidding, I got fired today.”

Zynga, Mark Pincus / “ I do not give myself very high marks as a CEO”

Mark Pincus, co-founder and CEO of Zynga - the gaming company founded in 2007- FarmVille and other restaurant games.

The company, which earned $1.28 billion in revenue in 2012 , declined to $690 million in 2014. The decrease in interest in games and the lack of interest in new games were among the factors that played a role in the decline of the company. Don Mattrick, a former Microsoft executive, was appointed head of the company. As a result of this move, Zynga could not produce successful games even though it was directed to mobile. Mark Pincus rejoined as CEO in 2015 at Zynga, which is considered the pioneer of the social gaming industry, and left this position in 2016. He continued as a board member in the company. Pincus said about his CEO position at the time, “Managing more than 200 people is neither fun for me nor among my skills, not giving high marks to myself as the CEO of a large-scale company actually fired myself.”

So we can stop beating ourselves up when we get fired or have troubles at work — even the best ones have been there. While we advise you not to be fired, there can still be a better outcome to this bitter situation.

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