Compare and contrast –
In the startup world, failure is a badge of honor. An honest postmortem of mistakes made along the way is greatly appreciated by the community. For example:
- Untitled Partners
- neotis wissensmanagement GmbH
- [unfunded idea]
The comments on each of those posts are overwhelmingly sympathetic, admiring and supportive. Celebrating failure in context is a distinguishing aspect of our business culture versus many other countries.
In contrast, when the President of the US admits mistakes, the national and international coverage seems to imply that the admission itself its newsworthy and perhaps unwise. Comments are largely vitriolic and incoherent.
Now, I think that failure can be overrated as an indicator of future success. But I firmly believe that the openness to failure in business is one of the things that makes this country truly great. It’s ironic and sad that this cultural gem does not extend into our political arena.
UPDATE 4 Oct 2010: Here’s a great list of the 25 best startup postmortems.