Failure

Despite the stuffy nose and having been in an all day meeting, there was an extension of the day at the WorldBank where I attended a Fail Faire.

Colleagues had told me about this Fail Faire and I had been skeptical, wondering why anyone would be willing to get up on a stage and talk about his or her failure. I do accept the premise that we learn from failure but somehow I couldn’t get my head around the concept of this being done on a stage and in a public place.

The WorldBank hosted the event which was well attended by a large crowd of predominantly young (inferred from the high energy at 6 PM on a Friday) development workers with an ICT interest, as this was the focus of the failures. There was much twittering around me about the lessons that emerged out of the failures – a very connected crowd.

We listened to the failure stories which were presented in comedy club style – there was much laughing and many clever slides with even more clever pictures and very little text. At the end, using applause level as the measure, we elected the church lady and the computer class in Angola as the winner – not necessarily the most insightful failure but certainly the funniest story and best presentation.

I had expected something completely different and now can understand the appeal. Who would not want to be entertained on a Friday evening, with free drinks and snacks, in the company of best friends and colleagues listen to people who fell on their faces? I’d go again but I don’t think I would ever present as these were hard acts to follow.

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