Alexia Tsotsis just published an important post on TechCrunch about an insidious side of startup culture, one she refers to as “the cult of success”.
In the startup world we pay lip service to risk all the time. No concept is more hallowed or hyped in Silicon Valley than “entrepreneurship”, and the defining feature of entrepreneurship is risk.
You Can’t Spell Risk Without Failure
Risk, by definition, implies frequent failure. Yet while we recognize the value of failure in principle, when presented with an individual instance of it, one involving a specific startup and actual people, we too often respond with snark and schadenfreude. TechCrunch, and the rest of the tech press, are not immune from this, as Alexia admits. Too often, how the ups and downs of a startup get covered depends more on how close the founders and investors are to the “cool kids” rather than on the merits or the long view.
What’s an appropriate response to failure, then? Should we celebrate it, as we do success?