Success in Failure: F*up Nights Finance


With the constant stream of successful start-ups raising money or being acquired, it’s not too often that the failures of these individuals in this space are celebrated. F*up Nights (FUN) is a casual, swearing-allowed speaker series that takes place in over 136 cities around the world.

The Vancouver Entrepreneurs Forum (VEF) teamed up with FUN Vancouver to Celebrate failure stories and the lessons learned.

The speakers: 

  • Tom Williams - CEO, BetterCompany
  • Brenda Irwin - Managing Partner & Co-Founder, Relentless Pursuit Partners
  • Hussein Hallak - GM, Launch Academy
  • Joe Timlin - Vice President, Investments, GrowthWorks Capital
  • Michelle Martin - CEO, NXT Level You 

The evening kicked off with networking, drinks and food. Then each speaker was introduced separately and had a timed presentation around their experience in failure and success. It was a great way for everyone in the room to learn about each speaker before they sat down as a panel.

“Knowing your vision can blind you, listen to others. Check your ego, test.” – Hussein Hallak

I took away 3 lessons from the event: check yourself, share success, and support is needed.

Check Yourself

This is important. Hussein Hallak and Brenda Irwin talked about blinding your team with your vision. Your drive and passion will lead your team to also become driven and passionate, but you run the chance that you are all blindly going off the cliff. Always make sure you review, test, and get the view from above the clouds.

Share Success

Even when failure happens, share the success in that with those around you. Growing your network and talking with people will also help you in the future when looking for advice or support. Founder depression is a real thing. It’s easy to portray to your co-workers, peers, family and friends that everything is great as you keep the dream alive while inside you are failing. Find your network of support and talk with them, share the fail and what success you found in that failure.

Support is Needed

We will fail. It’s only a matter of when. Be ok with that. As demonstrated by all the panelists, we are never always perfect. It’s how to rebound or let take that failure and focus on the lessons learned to make better decisions in the future. I’m sure Joe Timlin would love to have a redo meeting with Stewart Butterfield. Hussein learned to never put out a product without checking the market, media hype vs reality are two different things. Michelle Martin learned ‘founder alignment error’ and knows to spend time on the ‘how’ and not always on the ‘what.’ Brenda Irwin proved that it can take time, so look after yourself and enjoy the journey.