We have failed

As a company that’s grown quite a bit in these last few years, sometimes we need to make big decisions. And sometimes, we don’t make the right ones.

We’ve already shared some fuckups from people around the world who organize Fuckup Nights, but, now that the year is drawing to a close, we’ve reflected on our 7 years journey as a whole, as a company. And following the tradition of having the difficult conversations, and sharing the things that companies normally don’t, here are the top 5 fuckups we’re proud to have learned from:

Surprise, surprise!

In the beginning, we were a global hippie community organizing events and sharing the failure, and there wasn’t much to speak of in terms of rules or processes. But as we scaled up, we realized that that wouldn’t sustain us, so we started drafting the rules and processes that would help us grow and flourish.

However, the road to hell is paved with good intentions, and in our haste and excitement, we sent a new 9 page contract to our organizers with scary and dense jargon – without really talking about the why, or our vision.

Surprise, surprise! We got a ton of complaints, and left our fuckuppers with many doubts and not-so-great feelings. We failed to communicate with our community, and some fuckuppers decided not to continue organizing Fuckup Nights. 

Oh, and we’ve may or may have not got into some (current) legal battles… Yeah, not fun.

Leading by (a bad) example

300 cities, 90 countries, and hundreds of failure stories every month. That’s a lot of data to be gathered, and represents a great opportunity to take advantage of!

That’s why we decided to create The Failure Institute, the research arm of Fuckup Nights dedicated to the study of failure, and to help decision makers make more informed decisions. 

But oh, the cruel irony. The Failure Institute failed.

Yes, we did manage to get some paid research projects, but the truth is that we just couldn’t figure out a proper way to connect Fuckup Nights (and its great stories) with the Failure Institute. And after some solid attempts to keep the Institute alive, we decided to take a break, and then, re-invent it. Now, we’re continuing to help decision makers, but in some different and exciting ways.

Failed failure events

As we were growing, we discovered that sharing the failure was important for companies, and a new culture based on resiliency was enormously necessary.

And that’s when our Private events joined the fight against pre-established paradigms. And, amongst the logistics of organizing motivational talks for companies, we’ve fucked up a few times.

From a famous speaker being stoned and tweeting nonsense, to a disappointing pick of stories that resulted in us not getting paid, sometimes we’ve missed the mark. There was also a very cringe-inducing time we ignored our principles, and rejected a speaker because the client, a “healthy” lifestyle company, thought “her appearance wasn’t in line with the brand.”  That’s code for she was too fat. *cough cough* body shaming *cough cough*

All that’s to say, we’ve learned the hard way how to understand our partners’ needs, and give them some love (while still staying true to us!)

Fuckup vs. Zuckerberg

Name a more epic rivalry than Fuckup Nights and Facebook Ads. You can’t right? (we know you can, but hush) Well, this is the ongoing bane of our existence.

We know, we have a big four letter “F” word on every post and content we create, and that’s both a weakness and a strength. We’ve been consistently trying to create Ads on Facebook, and we’ve consistently failed in every attempt.

Even after changing our name to Fvckup Nights, Facebook immediately flagged and banned us.

And once again, let’s hear it for irony, because Facebook Mexico once contacted the Failure Institute to conduct an investigation about digital competences.

The bright side of this story is that all of our growth has been organic, thanks to our great community from across the globe.

Fyre Festival (Fuckup Nights Edition)

Recently, a speaker from Buenos Aires told a cool story about a failed festival in the middle of nowhere. And that definitely opened up some old wounds for us…

The Fuckup Riot promised to be an ambitious innovation festival in the caribbean. A place to gather “disruptive” and “radical” minds, and bring together our global community of 200 Fuckuppers, speakers, and a few artists.

Well, at least that was the idea in our head, but we soon realized that we were dreaming far too big (at that moment) – and an idea like that needed organization and infrastructure that we just couldn’t afford at that moment.

But now we can! Maybe? … Nah.

And that’s been our journey this past 7 years! We’re proud to look back and remember the fuckups that made us and that defined us – and how we now do things. Because at the end of the day, the wrong decisions we made came from a place of love, and were meant to help people break free from those paradigms that limit their lives every day. Something that we’re still aiming for.

 Now it’s your turn, #Sharethefailure with us.