#FailureCulture: Does Asia Embrace Failure Enough?

August 30, 2012

9:00 am

Fail early, fail fast, fail often.

Failure is ingrained in the culture of American entrepreneurs. Silicon Valley’s FailCon is an annual conference to learn from other entrepreneurs’ failures, and it also hosts informal FailChat meetups. The Bmore Fail conference has a similar purpose. And speakers are constantly boasting about overcoming epic failures.

“The only way you learn is when you get an unexpected result; i.e., you fail to get the intended result. Failure is a critical component of innovation … we all would benefit by learning how to fail better,” explains Bmore Fail organizer Jason Hardebeck.

But many young Asian startup scenes have yet to fully embrace failure. Things are slowly changing, but being a risk-taking entrepreneur still runs counter to the expectations of parents and society.

I applied to tackle this topic at SXSWi, a widely popular conference for entrepreneurs, alongside Gwendolyn Regina, the cofounder of SGEntrepreneurs in Singapore, and Daniel CerVentus, the founder of Entrepreneurs.my in Malaysia. (The voting period closes tomorrow, so if you’re intrigued, give it a thumbs up and leave your comments.)

To get the debate going, we will be hosting a Twitter discussion all day on Thursday (Friday in Asia). Reply to the questions below with the hashtag #failureculture and the question number, and we’ll summarize the results here tomorrow.

  1. Do Asian entrepreneurs embrace failure enough?
  2. How does culture contribute to fear of failure or risk aversion in Asia?
  3. Who are some inspirational companies or entrepreneurs who have overcome their failures and gone on to succeed?
  4. What can we learn from Silicon Valley about failure?

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Kira M. Newman is a Tech Cocktail writer interested in the harsh reality of entrepreneurship, work-life balance, and psychology. She is the founder of The Year of Happy and has been traveling around the world interviewing entrepreneurs in Asia, Europe, and North America since 2011. Follow her @kiramnewman or contact [email protected]

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