Startup Failure is NOT fuckin’ sexy …

If you are an entrepreneur or a wannabe entrepreneur or have ever attended any startup event, you would have definitely heard lectures of startup failure and that failure is good. There will be entrepreneurs on stage talking about the reasons of their startup failures. Now, there are startup events ( Failcon : http://india.thefailcon.com/about.html ) with the theme around failure and glorifying it to an extent that it seems failure is better than success.

Entrepreneurs are made to believe that failure should be embraced with open arms. The same set of speakers who promote entrepreneurship, success mantras, funding tips and valuation techniques also speak about failed startups being good in the same breath. The startup journalists (now, joined by mainstream media) regularly write about “5 lessons learnt from a startup failure” or invite guest posts on “10 lessons to learn from failed startups ” .

Yes, I am also a failed entrepreneur. I also had to shutdown due to one of the well known reasons mentioned in every standard failure post on the internet ( https://www.techinasia.com/10-reasons-startups-fail-confessions-of-founders ). But, I am not proud of it. and I did not embrace it with open arms. I did not give any lecture or spoke about my failure with pride. Yes, I am afraid of failure and I cannot accept it easily. I did not aspire for my startup to fail and I don’t talk about it anymore as I don’t feel that it is worth talking about it. But, before you get it wrong, afraid of failure does not mean I am afraid of taking risks.

Whenever someone fails, everyone around tells him that he has gained experience. But who cares ? I did not wish to gain this experience. Shit just happened to me. And I could not get over it easily. It took me months to get adjusted to the fact that my startup is down and the reality has hit me hard. Tell a guy who jumps from the plane with a parachute that failure is okay and he is going to give one tight slap back. For him, failure means end of life. Show me one guy who celebrates failure except the media and the people who are successful.

You must have heard that famous quote by Michael Jordan

“I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.”

But he never told anyone that he was not happy about it. He never spoke about it until he became a superstar and a highly successful and recognised player all over the world. Every time he failed, he might have gone back into his shell and would have practiced much harder. He did not give any lectures about failure. and ofcourse, media did not know about his failure until he became a successful player.

I agree that every failure teaches you something about mistakes and you should learn from it and gain experience. It is always good to know top 10 reasons of why you failed and you should note it down in your personal diary as learnings. Then, you should quietly go back to the regular world for sometime and try harder, much harder. While you may think that it’s good to share failures in public as at least you had the balls to try something and play the risk, but believe me, it’s just an ego satisfaction. Deep down your heart, you don’t enjoy it. and if you don’t enjoy it, there is no reason to share it.

Having said all that, failure isn’t sexy. It does not mean it is bad. but don’t glorify it. Work harder again and again and again. Once you are successful, then it is time to talk about your failures. Believe me, people value your failures only when you are successful else you are just another guy.

As a kid, I remember the story of “King Bruce and the Spider” . The moral of the story is “try, try again until you succeed” and it never said “glorify your failure while you are trying…”.


Originally published at patterbuzz.com on January 8, 2016.