A Few Hiccups And Some Beer

Traditional Indian culture habitually focuses excessively on success stories and completely overlooks failures, and that is something that the FuckUp Nights franchise aims to reverse, says Gogona Saikia (with inputs from Ashish Goenka).

‘Fall down seven times, get up eight’ seems to be the motto the FuckUp Nights concept has based itself on. Born in a creative Mexican mind in 2012, the events have spread their charm through various countries before finally landing in India last year.

The unobvious Unique Selling Point of this franchise is bringing current and aspiring entrepreneurs together to share publicly their stories of failure.

The idea is so glaringly simple, yet almost all motivational talks focus on what to do to achieve success or happiness or some other target. FuckUp Nights goes against the tide: the aim is to make budding entrepreneurs see what NOT to do. Move over, Ted Talks.


 The Rise And Rise Of FuckUp Nights

After touring Mumbai, Bengaluru and Delhi, FuckUp Nights finally made inroads into the one of the nation’s foremost Information and Technology destinations, Hyderabad, on July 30, courtesy Bombay Connect/Mingle: two organisations contributing largely to the growth and functioning of startups and entrepreneurs. Ashish Goenka, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and founder of Mingle, has taken it upon himself to spread the unique movement in India as its Regional Director.

The timing could not be better. With the pro-corporate Narendra Modi-led federal government launching its own initiatives to give a boost to would-be entrepreneurs, among them the flagship scheme titled StartUp India, youngsters are now breaking away from the traditional ‘find a job’ mentality that dominates most Indian households. The government initiative was complemented by an October 2015 report by the National Association of Software and Services Companies (Nasscom), which said India had paved its way to secure the third position in the world, after the US and UK respectively, in terms of the number of startups. A project such as FuckUp Nights came like a boon at a time of an unprecedented boom, and has managed to attract enthusiastic and eager minds. With an uncensored environment for sharing of information and free exchange of ideas, it is no surprise.


Gen Y Breaking Barriers

The emerging Indian startup scene more or less relies on tried and tested experiments rather than taking huge risks; investors looking to play it safe understandably tend to keep away from rebellious ideas that might have raked in the big bucks in Silicon Valley.

The most successful startups in the country are invariably versions of internationally successful models. That is another of the limitations FuckUp Nights is trying to break through.


Much like the ones in the previous cities, the Hyderabad event at Collab House too boasted of an impressive roster of speakers: Enoch, CEO of The Smarketers (a digital marketing agency), Arjun Singh, founder and CEO of ColorCan (a startup that caters to the public’s wall painting needs), and Jeevan Chowdhry, founder of Froogal (a venture that aims to digitise the market place with an advanced cloud based platform) were enlisted to speak about their trial-and-error stories before they finally hit pay dirt.

According to the same Nasscom study, 72% of founders here are less than 35-years-old, making India home to the youngest entrepreneurs in the world. As testimony, the audience almost always comprises youths in this age group.

The fact that FuckUp Nights celebrates the mysterious yet global beer-startup relationship, by providing some complimentary beer and snacks to attendees, probably acts as a motivator.


The Eventual Target: Education

Traditional Indian culture habitually focuses excessively on success stories and completely overlooks failures: a fact that has led to an alarming number of student suicides throughout the years. Young people, conditioned to feel shame when they encounter failure, often consider death the easy way out rather than facing intense familial and societal pressure. Which is why is it heartening to know that FuckUp Nights is looking to reach out to educational institutions – to make students believe it is okay to get a wrong answer as long as you learn something from it.

FuckUp Nights has now turned to focus its attention on more Indian cities, with Pune, Goa and Ahmedabad on its radar. In spite of the tremendous growth in the startup sector, India has no strict rules governing the entry and exit of players, a factor that has led to an uncontrolled rise in the number of and subsequent hasty retreats of innumerable companies.

As FuckUp Nights spreads its message of the unquestionable relationship between failure, innovation and success, it gives hope to the many out there cherishing big dreams of their own.

If what FuckUp Nights aims to achieve takes roots in fresh minds, it has the scope of unlocking the yet-untapped potential of hundreds in India, a country, Goenka says, that itself is a 69-year-old startup.



Images via fuckupnights.com

Free thinking by nature. Journalist by profession. Passionately vocal about human rights, equality and liberty. Can be distracted with dogs or music.

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