The gist of this HBR blog is that we often learn from things we have to take responsibility for but rarely from thing we only 'might' have been responsible for. Essentially, if we can privately blame a failure on someone or something else, then that's fine and we move on.
One thing that's important about this finding though, in the context of startups, is that a CEO (or indeed anyone truly responsible) needs to actively fight this innate behaviour.
The fact is, it's all your fault. You create the circumstances and environment, set the checks and balances and decide strategy. So when you feel the need to find someone to blame, look in the mirror.
It goes something like this: When we fail, we internally pinpoint what the authors call an “attribution of responsibility – namely taking personal ownership for the outcome or blaming it on external circumstances.” If you take personal ownership, their research shows you’re much more likely to learn from and work harder after that mistake. But in cases when it’s unclear if you’re responsible for the failure, you’re “less likely to internally attribute a failure, and thus less likely to learn,”