Of all the weird, cultish beliefs that the made-in-Silicon-Valley start-up culture has given rise to, the weirdest is the cult of failure. ‘Fail early and fail fast’ is the mantra that started in the world of venture financing of tech companies but seems to be permeating the wider world of business. This deification of failure, of viewing failure as a rite of passage and as a sort of qualification, is a strange phenomenon.
On the face of it, it seems to reflect the sayings that exist in many cultures that say that people learn from their mistakes better than in any other way. It’s not a new idea. I myself have written more than once in my columns that investors do not really get a feel for investing well unless they have seen a bad situation and made some losses. Only when a market cycle is complete and an equity investor has seen the heady gains of a bull run as well as the sharp setbacks of a decline, can he or she be considered a complete, experienced, and mature investor. So, am I not advocating the same thing as this new ‘learning from failure’ cult?
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