Fetish for Failure

Acknowledging and being ok with failure is one of the best things about the startup community. We now celebrate the act of writing a startup failure post-mortem as courageous.

But it seems like we’ve gone too far.

Yes — we celebrate failure way too much.

“You gave it your best shot. I admired your goal. You guys killed it.”

No, you didn’t.

Take the failure post-mortems. Sure, some of them are “brave.” The ones that candidly:

The ones that do the above do require some amount of self-reflection.

But those are the exceptions.

Most are vapid puff-piece post-mortems that talk about being too early to market or suggest investors weren’t committed or offer up trite discussion of why they’ve joined a “larger platform” whose vision aligns with theirs.


You can see this delusion in the reasons founders give for their failures in our Top 20 Reasons Startups Fail.

The next time a startup fails and the founder writes a post or tweets some self-m@sturb@tory gibberish, watch how quickly the ircle’cay erk’jay of congratulatory comments or tweets starts.

Now, even when you fail, you are a success.

Yup — in Startupland, everyone is a winner.


From lack of product-market fit to disharmony on the team, CB Insights breaks down the top 20 reasons for startup failure by analyzing 101 startup failure post-mortems.


It's hard to say goodbye. A compilation of startup failure post-mortems by founders and investors.


Hardware businesses are brutal. Here's what consumer hardware startups can learn from failures like Jawbone, Juicero, Pebble and others. Using intelligence on financing trends, failure rates, and exit activity, we analyzed why so many hardware startups fail (and some succeed).