FuckupNights: the initiative that helps you understand why your project has failed

Javi Fondevila

Do you dare to share your company’s failures with a broad, global audience? Would you put everything there in full public view so that people can criticize and learn from them? Well, your answer to this will depend largely on where you are from.

Europeans, for example, are far less likely to be so blasé; we are far more likely to keep our setbacks to ourselves or within our personal circles than Americans, who like to be shouty and open about everything.

Enter FuckUp Nights—a movement that puts business failures in front of a wider audience to remove the overall taboo feeling from failure.

The Story of FuckUp Nights

The accidental creation of the FuckUp Nights took place in México City, when five entrepreneurs ended up in a pub.

They chatted a little, drank some beers, and soon started—in the confines of the bar—an honest and open discussion about their business failures. That sharing went amazingly well. Social media may be full of successes, but stories of failure are not shared very often. A missed opportunity, according to these entrepreneurs, because sharing such stories can lead to crucial insights. And as it befits entrepreneurs, they started acting— the bar was switched for cultural centers, the stories were given wider audiences and fresh pints, well… they remained a permanent fixture.

The FuckUp Nights were born.

Putting Failures Out in the Open

FuckUp Nights’ concept is very simple.

Three “fuckupreneurs” all have seven minutes each to share the story of their biggest ever business failure. After the story has been delivered, the audience can ask their questions. Rather ironically, FuckUp Nights is a huge success around the world. Each and every month, they take place in 100 cities worldwide.

It is safe to say that there is now a firm place for failures.

Embracing and Accepting Setbacks

In Europe, openly talking about failure is relatively rare. In the United States, however—like in Silicon Valley—failure is simply regarded as the result of a taken risk. It follows the mentality of “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger”.

In Europe, people tend to get more easily demotivated after a setback, and their thoughts tend to be rather negative: ‘I failed, this means I am not good enough’; ‘Maybe I should quit my job’; ‘I will never be as good as everybody else’, or ‘I am a failure.’

If these feelings sound familiar, FuckUp nights may be right for you.

They tackle these feelings by telling you that you should not take failures too seriously—they are learning experience that are packed full of value. The organizers of FuckUp nights think that failure is neither positive of negative; it is a natural part of life that cannot be avoided. Everybody faces failure but it is how you respond to your failings that defines you, not the failures themselves.

When you face failure, it is more of a question of how you are going to handle it going forward—will you embrace and learn from it or dwell on and suffer because of it?

Sharing the Fun of Failures

FuckUp Nights are saying that it is OK to fail. Whether it was unexpected, expected, the result of an unwise business move, a promising deal that went south, or the result of an internal problem, it doesn’t matter—failures can all be learned from and seen as successes or lead to new accomplishments.

In this way, FuckUp Nights speak more to the younger generation who have the ideas and thoughts to shape a common future.

By challenging you to be yourself and embrace your failure, FuckUp Nights relate directly to the “millennial” mindset and attitude; this is done with lots of humor in a relaxed environment where many entrepreneurs—or fuckupreneurs—come together in a friendly and social setting free from the judgemental comments of people who have never spent a day in business.

So, whether you have faced failure before with your Shopify or Prestashop e-commerce store or have had nothing but success, why not attend a FuckUp Night near you? If you aren’t sharing your own stories, the stories delivered by so-called “fuckupreneurs” are great to listen to.

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