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FailCon: Because Tech Isn't Always Successful

Conference celebrates cautionary tales

By Scott Budman
|  Monday, Oct 22, 2012  |  Updated 9:38 AM PDT
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FailCon: Because Tech Isn't Always Successful

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Fail. It's OK.

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It's always nice to hear about the startup that gets tens of millions of dollars, or the company that has a successful IPO. We love those stories, because they give us faith in the future, while making us feel good about the present.

But the "feel good" story is - let's be honest - the exception. For every entrepreneur who succeeds, dozens and dozens fail. For every company that hauls in huge VC funding, a much larger number sees shoulders shrugging, and gets the advice to try something else.

Enter FailCon: A way to learn from these cautionary tales. I've had venture capitalists tell me they won't even consider funding a young CEO, until he or she has experience failure. In these times when technology seems to be running on all cylinders, how to we find failures? An entire conference dedicated to the cautionary tale.

FailCon Executive Producer Cass Phillipps, who ironically counts as a success - her conference has spread all over the world - puts it simply: "If we have so much to learn from our failures, why aren't we talking more about them?"  It's a good point. At FailCon, young entrepreneurs listen to those who have struck out with the same rapt attention as they would give to someone who just pulled in $30 million.

If you're interested in what happens to most ideas - and how the truly successul techies rebound from them - check out FailCon.  It kicks off today at the Julia Morgan Ballroom in San Francisco. It's worth a listen.

Scott, who is known to stumble, is on Twitter: @scottbudman

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