What does failure mean to you?

“My failure taught me to seek opportunities in which I had an advantage.”

— Scott Adams, How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big

What does failure mean to you?

Is it a learning opportunity? A sign that change is needed? Something to be avoided altogether?

Does it even exist?

Here’s Singaporean entrepreneur Prakash Somosundram's take: “We've just built this muscle to be able to kind of pick ourselves up and continue building and trying, and you know, the next breakthrough is just around the corner, and we just need to constantly be doing something to get there.”

He’s been building that muscle for nearly 30 years. Constantly doing something.

You only fail if you stop.

Fail Empire Strikes Back GIF by Star Wars

Gif by starwars on Giphy

In today's email:

  • Featured founder: A South African entrepreneur’s healthy approach to risk-taking

  • Becoming better: Worldwide perspectives on making failure work for your benefit

  • Weekly reflection: Global philosophies to help you pivot through challenges and uncertainties

  • Watchlist: Comin’ in hot with another inspiring story from Kenya!

Mike Stopforth on South Africa's high-risk, high-reward startup environment

For a healthy, balanced perspective on risks and entrepreneurial failure, turn to South African entrepreneur Mike Stopforth. In this story, he discusses South Africa’s volatile startup landscape — the backdrop from which he capitalized on an opportunity ripe for the taking.

Social Media Crisis Agency 48H, initially an experimental venture, developed into a respected and profitable business for Mike and his partner, Victor. They took a careful, deliberate approach to launching a company that, somewhat ironically, is all about helping organizations when they’re at their lowest.

💪 Becoming better

Turn setbacks into stepping stones with insights from these high-performing leaders:

“No” = “not yet”

Broota is a well-known Chilean crowdfunding platform that boasts over $23 billion in brokered startup funding during the last decade. They’ve done it all despite launching without a marketing strategy and being told it couldn’t be done in Chile — that the traditional banking world was off-limits to the uninitiated. The big numbers are impressive, but how the founders modeled their business from their experience volunteering in the Congo is even more inspiring.

El fracaso en el mundo startup

With 10+ years of experience in the startup world, Broota’s team is well-positioned to gain insights on failure directly from founders in LatAm’s startup ecosystem. Here’s their CEO, Federico Iriberry, Renzo Pruzzo of LOMI, and Diego Arias from Desafío Latam, discussing what failure means to them.

Learn “how to fail”

Author and journalist Elizabeth Day’s podcast, How To Fail, offers invaluable insights for budding entrepreneurs. Especially noteworthy is the episode with Egyptian entrepreneur and Google X alum Mo Gawdat, where he discusses the crucial aspect of understanding and embracing failure as an inherent part of success, along with the “algorithm for happiness.”

🤔 Weekly reflection

Wherein lies the hidden power of your entrepreneurial setbacks?

A few resources to spark your introspection:

The philosophy of Ubuntu (a Zulu name, though there are several others in many Bantu languages) emphasizes communal values, interconnectedness, and mutual understanding. Often translated as "I am because we are," it signifies that our well-being, success, and failures are intrinsically linked to those of others. For entrepreneurs, applying the wisdom of Ubuntu can reshape our relationship with failure in powerful ways.

In this short video, Nassim Nicholas Taleb, the brilliant author behind Antifragile, dives into why entrepreneurs are such an essential part of our collective progress in society and encourages making it respectable to fail.

Ever feel like things just need to be destroyed? Ideas, plans, empires — whatever. To facilitate growth, sometimes we’ve gotta tear it all down and start again. Creative Destruction is “a concept introduced by economist Joseph Schumpeter that… paves the way for new structures to emerge, thereby creating long-term economic growth and progress.”

“The Art Of Kintsugi And Lessons In Leadership” by Jonathan H. Westover, Chief Academic & Learning Officer at HCI Academy, uses Kintsugi — the ancient Japanese practice of embracing imperfection by repairing broken pottery with gold — as a compelling metaphor to improve our leadership skills.

Have a suggestion for an upcoming topic? Drop us a line at [email protected].

🔎 Watchlist

Imagine working your entire life for a shot to make it in the NBA. Now imagine doing that with such a singular focus that when it all comes crashing down — when you don’t get the call you’ve been expecting all your life — you realize you’ve got no plan B, no marketable skills.

That’s how Evan Omondi’s entrepreneurial journey started.

Tomorrow, you’ll see what happened next.

Until next time,

Nolan Bulger

Founder, Mergerous Media Co.

P.S. Here’s the link to Evan’s story, but it won’t work until tomorrow at 2 pm CEST.