Would-be entrepreneurs can get encouragement from a new event in Berlin, which aims to give people confidence to try new things by celebrating failures as much as successes.
“Don’t be afraid of failure” is the message that a group of German entrepreneurs want to spread with their new event, called “F*ckup Nights.”
“In principle, it is about de-stigmatizing failure and showing that people who are committed to something may stumble and fail, and that this is only natural,” of the project’s organizers Ralf Kemmer, a professor in campaign and communication planning at SRH University Berlin, said.
One of the speakers at the event, which was held in Berlin on Tuesday, is 19-year-old Daniel Spurman. Daniel decided to set up an extreme sports business after seeing a video posted to the internet of extreme jumps carried out by people in the US.
He decided to offer something similar in Berlin: where people jump off a tall tower onto a huge air mattress. The force of their falls sends people who were lying on the mattress up in the air, and into the water.
Daniel found a 30 square meter air mattress, a tower and – with difficulty – got permission from the authorities to set up his firm at Berlin’s Ploetzensee Lake.
However, he says his first mistake was with staffing: he hired friends and strangers through eBay ads, many of whom turned out to be unreliable.
On the first day of business, his friend called him to say he couldn’t come to work because of an “algae allergy.”
For a few weeks, things were going ok and Daniel decided to take a holiday with his family. He left a friend in charge of his business, but when he returned he was told that the mattress had been broken by somebody who “weighed a bit more” than average.
Not only that, the health authority intervened and told him his tower wasn’t stable enough.
Already in debt after starting the business, Daniel didn’t have enough money to pay for the repairs, and the landlord of the lake was putting pressure on him to get rid of the “attraction.”
Stressed and indebted, Daniel gave in to temptation and ran away from his problems – in fact, he left the country for a month.
Despite the failure, he said that he has no regrets about the experiment. He has paid off his debts and is co-founder of a successful online business with a six-figure turnover.
“It was the biggest mistake of my life, but it was the coolest time!”