Fail-Safe Where FailCon and Epic Fail Pastors Conference call home.
FailCon is based on the belief that failure and the lessons learned in the process of failing can be a more effective teaching tool than cheerfully relayed stories of success — and that personal accounts of failure are best shared and lessons are best learned at face-to-face events. While FailCon is geared toward technology
entrepreneurs, meeting professionals from any industry can take the concept of learning from failure and customize it to their own events, said Cassandra Phillipps, FailCon co-founder. Whether an event is dedicated wholly to failure or presents just one case study, incorporating failure into an agenda could be the key to a meeting’s success. “The startup community is a great place to start
this conversation, but it’s not the only place for it,” Phillipps said. “There are a lot of companies and industries where failure is very harshly punished,
but that only limits people’s potential. By formal- izing discussion of failure in settings like this, it shows professional communities that talking about failure is okay, and a person is not a failure just because they experience a failure.”
FROM FRUSTRATED TO FAILCON Phillipps knows of lessons learned. A few years ago, she was just another San Francisco techie hoping her startup concept would be the next big thing. It wasn’t. Eager to turn things around, she attended a number of entrepreneurial events, looking for strat- egies and tips. “All of these events were very inspi- rational, but you couldn’t walk away from them and immediately apply it to your business,” she recalled.
“It was mostly very successful people talking about what they did well, but what I really needed at that moment was more information on what not to do.”
FEBRUARY 2013 PCMA CONVENE 43
PHOTOGRAPH ON PREVIOUS SPREAD BY ELISABETH LHOMELET