Yesterday I wrote a quick post about founder failure and how difficult it can be to recover from that.
Startup failure is a fact of startups. If you start a company, you’re most likely going to fail.
And we’re seeing many more entrepreneurs write about their experiences, which is a good thing. Startup failure needs to be talked about publicly and demystified. In many places (outside of Silicon Valley), founders are still vilified or written off as damaged goods once they’ve failed.
But we should also be careful about glorifying startup failure. There’s nothing awesome about it. The entrepreneurs that fail are not heroes or celebrities. They are special–because they’re entrepreneurs (which already puts them amongst a very small percentage of the population that’s taking a shot)–but we shouldn’t put them on pedestals and worship them.
Failure is still failure. It means you, as the founder, didn’t do what you set out to. And you have to own that failure. There are almost always external factors at play (failure rarely comes from one thing), but at the end of the day it’s on you. You started something, and then you finished it, without succeeding.
Startups fail. It happens all the time. By talking about failure and having more entrepreneurs tell their stories, we make it clear that we recognize failure as part of the process and something that everyone can learn from. And the truth is, the bigger failure is not trying again. If you jumped off the cliff once to start a company, and failed, what really matters is climbing back up to the top and jumping again. Maybe not right away, but someday.
I’m not proud of failing. I never talk about it like a highlight or some awesome experience that I went through in order to gain stature amongst my peers. There’s no glory in it, and we shouldn’t promote or accept failure to the point that the pain is completely ignored because we think it’s simply a right of passage. The pain is what makes failure so important. The lessons come from the experience and the pain thereafter. So don’t glorify startup failure. Share it. Learn from it. But be careful about celebrating it.