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An Effing Great Night

Beth Caniglia
Beth Caniglia
// There are few better ways in life, I've found, to hammer home how passionate you are about something, than to start swearing about it.

There are few better ways in life, I’ve found, to hammer home how passionate you are about something, than to start swearing about it.

As an enthusiastic cusser myself, I think it’s powerful to use expletives as punctuation – because appropriately used, they can convey passion, honesty and intensity that run-of-the-mill phrases sometimes just can’t.

And so I have to say – the inaugural Perth F***up Night was an effing great night.

Bringing Lightness to Failure

Part of a worldwide movement that began in Mexico, more than ten thousand entrepreneurs and business owners now meet every month, in various cities across the globe to talk about the same thing – how, when, where and why, they f***ed up.

WA is very good at spruiking the success stories of risk takers after the fact – but quite average at acknowledging (publicly) the many many f***ups, frustrations, depression and anxiety that every single one of us have to go through along the way to success.

Bringing lightness (and profanity) to the fact that failure is actually a good thing is exactly what F***up Nights aims to do – and that’s exactly why Kylie and Sven, the husband and wife team behind Impact Seed set a charter to bring the movement to Perth.

And bring it they did – the sold out event had to be moved at the last minute to the rooftop of the Melbourne Hotel to accommodate the over abundance of interest the event generated.

The Worst Day of Their Lives

Grant and Sharon Grosser from SEQTA started the evening off. With the aid of a variety of carefully curated memes, they took us on a journey through the first 10 years of their start up.

Their tale was fraught with mistakes and madness. Sharon recalled the day of their first live demo at their pilot school. Twenty teachers attempted to login to the Seqta system only for it to irretrievably fall over when the enter button on the login screen was pressed. She got visibly agitated recounting what she remembered as being ‘the worst day of her life’ and Grant commented that it was still emotional to relive such an epic stuff up, years later.

Full Circle

Fabian Le Gay Brereton from Greensense was up next, showcasing early founder email exchanges, milestone invoices, and ‘diagrams that we spent a third of our capital on, that no client ever saw’.

In a lovely full circle moment he recounted early days of operating out of the Melbourne Hotel (the event venue for the night), the three founders and their first three employees utilising it as a co-working space  – some time before co-working spaces really existed.

Being Selfish Sometimes Isn’t Selfish

Renée Gardiner from Growing Change, a Fremantle based social enterprise, told the story of starting and then exponentially growing her organisation – with a cautionary word about the perils that come with supercharged growth. In the space of three short months Renee suffered a mini stroke; separated from her husband; experienced a death in the family; and was advised that she needed open heart surgery – culminating in 5 months she had to take herself out of the business to recover.

Her f***up story highlighted the (often underrated) importance of self-care and the dangers of not putting yourself first, at least some of the time – because if your personal house isn’t in order, how can you expect to get your business in order?

A F***ed Event

When I asked Sven and Kylie for a quotation to summarise the night from their perspective they told me to write about how they stuffed up the event because they didn’t get to the post-speaker Q & A as they’d planned to, stressing that it was important to highlight. So even the event itself has a f*** up. Very apt.

The fact is that a startup is one of the riskiest and hardest games of all, with a 90% failure rate; and unless we want to take a bottle of wine to bed just to sleep every night, we need to start sharing, connecting and becoming friends with failure, and with each other.

And what better way to do that than sharing mild obscenities over a drink, with the good folk of Perth’s startup land?

About Perth – F***up Nights

F***up Nights is the most active creators movement on the planet. Each month over 10,000 people go to listen to 3 people share their failures. The movement is dedicated to three kinds of people: Those who have failed.. those who will fail.. and the liars.

You can find out more about them on their website.

About the Sponsors

To attend the next Impact Seed Pitch Night, the next event Kylie and Sven are running, register here.

Read more of the latest news from the startup ecosystem here

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Beth Caniglia

Beth Caniglia

A digital essentialist, obsessed with how technology can transform businesses, industries and lives, Beth has worked in and around the Perth startup scene for the last 5 years, starting co-working spaces, building apps and creating digital strategies for startups and corporations alike. She is currently Global Marketing Manager for VROC AI in Perth, and co-host on our 'Startup West' podcast.
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