Is one of the factors determining how entrepreneurial a culture is its attitude to failure?
Can risk-taking flourish in a culture which stigmatises failure more than it celebrates success?

In Silicon Valley, entrepreneurs are encouraged to “Forget the mission statement, make a mantra“. In an environment which values success so highly, it may be surprising to hear mantras praising the virtues of failure, such as “Fail fast, fail often” or “Fail Better” (borrowed from the 20th century Irish author Samuel Beckett).

On second thoughts, this may not be so surprising, given that 90% of all startups will fail, and that many “overnight successes” are in reality the product of years of failure.

Watch the video below, “Startup Failure: A Step to Success“, and note down the contributions of each of the following :

Individual activities

Your teacher will have assigned you one of the following three pages. Click on the link, do the exercise, then return to this page.

  1. Failure and bankruptcy
  2. Failure and honour
  3. Failure and resilience


Choose one of the 156 Startup Failure Post-Mortems and analyse the entrepreneur’s account of, and reaction to, his or her failure.

Image source : The University Times

Lesson Topics

Course Discussion