“Even now, no one’s willing to talk about failure”.

I heard this from a few people at SXSW this year.

On reflection, I think they’re half-right.

People do discuss failure and its importance, but they don’t want to actually talk *about* it. Instead, they want to talk *around* it.

At conferences you’ll hear a few people talk about their failures, but usually only in a sentence or two. The crowd gasps or nods sagely, then the speaker moves on to the inevitable success that followed. They gloss over it.

But that’s the missed opportunity.

What almost no one does is talk about the strategic mistakes that led them into the hole, or the methods they used to pull themselves out.

These are the real learnings. These are the things people truly benefit from.

I’m convinced that openly sharing what led you into and out of the hole does two things:

1) Offers powerful way to help people learn; 

2) Makes you more relatable, accessible, and… well, human.

Perhaps Kurt Vonnegut said it best:

"You will see this story over and over again. People love it and it is not copyrighted. The story is 'Man in Hole,' but the story needn't be about a man or a hole. It's: somebody gets into trouble, gets out of it again."

Go deep in the hole. Take us there with you. Then lead us back out, so we can follow you step by step.

Yes, there's a risk of failing if you decide to talk openly about failure.

But that’s the point.

Deep in the hole at SXSW

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