Last week I gave a presentation to a class of undergraduate students from the University of Minnesota’s Carlson School of Management. The discussion was centered on the topic of failure and how the fear of business failure is relative based on where we live in the world. The students have spent the better part of the last year working on their startup business ideas and I was impressed with what the teams were able to accomplish and where they had admitted their failures. During the discussion one brave student admitted that he had felt a fear of failing during the course of launching their student business. When asked why he had explained that all of the students knew which projects from the previous year had done well and which had failed. He didn’t want his project to be on this year’s list of failed projects. He was interviewing with potential future employers and he wanted to be able to talk about his success.
Last week I had the opportunity to address a group of entrepreneurs and would-be-entrepreneurs at the University of Missouri in Columbia, MO (@Mizzou). Several times in my life I have come away from an event feeling that I had taken far more that I gave, this was one of those times. My presentation was to cover “Fear, Failure, and Entrepreneurship” and while I am pretty well versed in the “Fear and Failure” part I am still a novice on the entrepreneur side. Sure I have launched new business platforms and driven new concepts stores, and build strategies for new product categories for large corporations but the amount of pure entrepreneurial talent at that event far surpassed me.
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