Fuckup Nights: Behind the Scenes

In more than 300 cities across 90 countries around the world, Fuckup Nights organizers (Fuckuppers) work to change the paradigms that limit our lives, one event at a time. If Fuckup Nights were a cult, Fuckuppers would be the door-to-door evangelists, knocking on your door and trying to get you to accept their paraphernalia and share the failure. They are a key part of our global movement, working tirelessly to get people to stand on a stage in front of strangers and share some of the most intensely personal experiences of their lives. 

So what’s it really like to be a Fuckupper? 

“We were unsure if our somewhat conservative city would support an event called Fuckup Nights (…) We’re happy to say that being a Fuckup Nights organizer has given us a new perspective on how we approach the idea of authenticity and failure in our own lives and business.”

-Zane, Fuckupper in Richmond, United States

“I think one of the most impactful parts of my work as a Fuckupper is helping attendees and speakers get rid of labels and stop pretending to be someone else. It really takes a weight off their shoulders…”

-Catalina, Fuckupper in Bogotá, Colombia

The magic of storytelling

An excellent venue and the coldest beers in town aren’t enough to guarantee a “successful” (oh, the irony) event. People expect to hear failure stories at Fuckup Nights, and local Fuckuppers make sure they get what they came for.

But how the heck do Fuckuppers get people to truly connect with a random human sharing their fuckup? How do they make each Fuckup Nights event a collective healing ritual for both the speakers and the audience? Well, by ensuring a healthy dose of vulnerability and emotion and making it personal.

The key component at the core of each one of our events is storytelling, and each local Fuckupper works with each speaker to dive deep into their stories, using the following three questions as a guide:

  • What was your project about?
  • Why did it fail?
  • What would you have done differently?

Fuckuppers around the world listen to incredible failure stories and help each speaker summarize their personal experiences, feelings, expectations, and reactions in just 10 slides and seven minutes. What were the motivations behind their actions? How did they react in the face of disappointment? The goal is to give every speaker the chance to be completely vulnerable and the opportunity to share a cathartic experience with the audience.

“I believe that understanding more about storytelling and how we can connect with the audience through feeling, from the heart, is the golden tip. Somehow, the speakers need to show the human side of error and failure so that the public can be impacted.”

-Rafael, Fuckupper in Porto Alegre,  Brazil

“The curation process is challenging because speakers tend to talk about failure really quickly and then focus on success. We think the whole point of the events is to portray the mistakes, failures and bad decisions so people can get inspired and learn from that”

-Fuckup Nights Miami

Getting ready to share the failure

Once the speakers have been prepped, Fuckuppers turn their attention to the venue, the beers, the food, the fuckup walls, and all the other details necessary to make each event great! Every Fuckup Nights event is different, and each one is unique in its own way.

Although having a cool venue and free booze never hurts (there have been Fuckup Nights in abandoned churches, in museums, and even on boats!), the true value of Fuckup Nights is in the stories, the vibe, the people, the laughs, and the opportunity to put shine a light on failure.

“Showing the world that making mistakes is human and that this can be the most beautiful way to learn is a super important role that I carry with me :)”

-Rafael, Fuckupper in Porto Alegre,  Brazil

“I started to change people’s mindsets without noticing it.”

-Ale, Fuckupper in Mexico City, Mexico

Interested in becoming a Fuckupper? Find out if Fuckup Nights is already active in your city. If not, get in touch and help us change mindsets through failure and beer! If there is already an active Fuckup Nights chapter, come hang out at the next event! Or get in touch with the local team if you’re interested in sharing your failure as a speaker.

 Let’s #SharetheFailure together!