Fail Fast, Fail Cheap…or First, Go to FailCon

By Linda Chang

With its compelling basic premise, FailCon has made a memorable mark on the conference scene. Most of the time, conferences are about best practices and success stories. But behind all that success is a fair share of failure. So what gives? How do you know what it really takes? And how do you muster the courage to try, especially out here in the Bay Area and Silicon Valley, where successful start-ups almost seem de rigueur.

When asked about the inspiration for FailCon, Executive Producer Cass Phillipps said, “I’ve attended way too many events where the speakers preach on about success and how they find it.  Sure, I leave feeling inspired and uplifted, but within a few hours, I usually realize that I didn’t actually get any action items, that I don’t know what my next steps are.  A lot of success is luck–knowing the right people and having the right idea at the best time.  But you can definitely get closer by avoiding common failures.”

Since FailCon’s debut last fall, there have been several “FailChats,” short, evening-length gatherings, that have highlighted issues like web traffic data analysis, how to pivot your company, how to survive a founder break-up, and how to survive without funding.  This year’s big event on October 25th at the Hotel Kabuki in San Francisco will explore the myriad questions that rarely get air time, including:

  • How do VCs handle failing investments?
  • What do you do when digital communication and PR goes bad?
  • How do you sell your business successfully and efficiently?
  • How do you financially prepare for the possibility of failure: legally, fiscally, and in your team?
  • How do you recover from a failed product or marketing campaign?
  • How might a start-up ruin your life & how do you balance it all?

The buzz about embracing failures in the last few years continues to gain momentum and generate its share of controversy. Former entrepreneur and VC Mark Suster has written that it may create the false impression that the road to success can be paved with sloppiness and believes the “fail fast” mantra itself needs to fail.  On the other hand, we cannot try to shield ourselves from failure, and should perhaps keep embracing and sharing as many as we can – as the ChubbyBrain team does here.

So decide for yourself and attend the conference to get some ideas. Triple Pundit readers can get a 10% discount to the event by signing up here.

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