Many entrepreneurs believe that failure is the key to success. Some Silicon Valley based investors will not even invest in startup founders who had not had a failed startup. It is, indeed, an important skill to learn in the startup world to let go of something that is a dead end. However, as every founder knows, how far down the rabbit hole are you willing to go? Fuckup Nights is there to help.
The truth is, we all fuck up. And it is good.
At Fuckup Night Oslo, the focus was on entrepreneurs who have been down on their luck. Fuckup Nights are part of an international event series where people publicly share their business failures, and help humanize a part of the entrepreneur experience that is usually not discussed. Last week, the event came to Oslo.
Here are some Norwegian entrepreneurs talking about their biggest fuckups.
First, Tore Rasmussen talked about his team failing big-time on a Kickstarter project called Playing Lean. Despite this first failure, a subsequent project made 500% of crowdfunding campaign goals. He now travels around to companies teaching them the crowdfunding “game”. Without his first attempt, he would not have internalized the lessons for his successful campaign.
“If you can not find a single celebrity to endorse your product, you might need to work on it more,” says Tore.
He also talked about Kickstarter techniques and how and when to launch a product for crowdfunding, informed by his own experience miscalculating a crowdfunding campaign opportunity.
Betting on the wrong horse
Next came Kim Haagensen, a true serial entrepreneur. His first venture was a design clothing shop, which became a big success. An Icelandic bank approached him and offered him a position at their new branch. The problem was that he gave up the shares at his company and went down with the Icelandic bank in 2008.
Then he failed another venture: a telemarketing company. Later on he choose the wrong investor for a coffee business and had to opt out. Now, he is the proud founder of WeClean an on-demand, in-demand cleaning service. Kim emphasizes the value of not thinking any job is below you.
“If you are too cool to clean you are too cool for us”, he says.
The big short
The last presenter was Idar Vollvik. Idar has had 53 companies, and only a single failure under his belt.
After he retired at age 36, he moved to Spain to start stock trading. He shorted the economic crisis – 5 months too early. He lost everything. Moreover, he was 400 million Norwegian kroners in debt.
To dig himself out of debt, he started two new companies. Five years later, he is only 20 million in debt and will soon no longer owe money. He has started mobile carrier CHESS, as well as YaBank and LudoStore.
He loves business and would never joke with investor money.
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