The folks at Pollenizer know a thing or two about launching successful businesses – they’ve co-founded more than 25 to date.
So, when they advise entrepreneurs to embrace failure in order to learn – or ‘#flearn’ – then it pays to listen.
Or, as Pollenizer co-founder Mick Liubinskas puts it:
“Stop avoiding failure and instead do it fast and cheap with a focus on #flearning. You have to want to succeed but you have to chow down on the failures to get there.”
The brief history of #flearn
At the recent FailCon in Sydney – a one-day conference for peeps to study their own and others' failures and prepare for success – attendees shared ways to embrace the big, fat fail. #Flearn was born.
“The earlier failure is embraced as a challenge to meet and overcome, through #flearning, the better equipped we are to achieve our goals,” Sydney FailCon executive producer Josh Stinton says.
No entrepreneur wants to hear it, but truth is it’s possible to do everything right and still fail.
Unclench: That’s not always a bad thing.
According to Servant of Chaos’ Gavin Heaton: “One of the reasons I like the term #flearning is that it focuses the attention on the learning aspect rather than on the concept of failure, which is like an albatross around the neck of Australian entrepreneurs.”
“No one likes or wants to completely fail… #Flearning suggests a fork in the road on the way down. You may have to pivot your business, reposition it, or change your expectations and team - but the aim is to #flearn before you completely fail.”
Fact: failure isn’t going anywhere. But, by keeping it on the QT you’re doing yourself, and other entrepreneurs a disservice.
The good news is embracing #flearn doesn’t come with a 12-step program, or singing Kumbaya around the campfire. All you need do is:
- Whack #flearn on the end of tweets
- Use it in blog posts
- Pop it in presentations
- Add it to your LinkedIn profile
- Write about it in newspapers and magazines
- Share and share alike
“I'd be ecstatic if #flearn became a part of business language in Australia and maybe globally and that learning from failing was a big positive on your resume,” Liubinskas says.
So, have Australians entrepreneurs been quick to adopt #flearning?
“It's been received well, but it's early days. People like it but, all communities and movements need energy and persistence.”
“#Flearn [is]… going against the grain of Aussie culture.”
“It captures the imagination, but we need to go beyond that. We need to encourage people to share their #flearnings - their stories of failure and their journey towards success - and while Australians are well known for the Tall Poppy Syndrome, we are also known for holding our cards close to our chests.”
“I'm just imagining a new job title - Chief #flearner - especially in the startup world. I'd love to see that on a LinkedIn profile. Ultimately, it would be great to see flearn.org become a resource for startup entrepreneurs across the country (and maybe around the world)."
"After all, we can fail with the best of them, right?”
The #flearnings of Pollenizer’s Mick Liubinskas
Preach it, Liubinskas. Here are just a few of his own #flearnings:
- Trying to sell advanced technology to governments when I was 24.
- Trying to sell disruptive technology to big corporates at Kazaa when I was 26.
- Going against my gut instinct just because someone was more ‘experienced’ than I was. #zapr
- Doing far too much at once. #tangler
- Launching to the world when you’ve only got 10 customers. #posse
- Thinking that because I convinced someone to do something that they really got it. #manytimes
“I've seen some ideas and businesses and thought, that you can #flearn all you want, it is not a good business - but that is still great #flearning."