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Tara Calihman

Looking for the punchline. @tarable

The Beauty of Failure

"We must think of the cost of failure as an investment in the future."

I have failed at many things (marriage, friendships, college classes, jobs) and I love talking about failure. Here's why: you can learn more from failure than you can success. In the tech community especially, people don't want to talk about their failed ventures, just their profitable exits. But in the details of those failures lay clues to a person's character - how they react and deal with failure shows you what kind of person they are - and important lessons that are valuable for others.

When asked to help organize Boulder Startup Week, I was drawn to the Failure track and over the course of helping to plan the events that make up this track, I realized that these were the stories I really wanted to hear. How and why a product fails, what to do if your site goes down, how it feels when a founder leaves...all situations rich with teachable moments and all situations that may be uncomfortable to talk about, yet all situations that sound fascinating to me.

If we as leaders can talk about our mistakes and our part in them, then we make it safe for others. You don’t run from it or pretend it doesn’t exist.

And that's the beauty of talking about failure: the more you do it, the less power it has over you. Sharing the experience is cathartic because everyone can relate. Failure sucks but like most life lessons, if we can see the education that the opportunity offers us, the pain is worth it.

Spoken by a true failure. In the best sense of the word.