You go to learn the conventions of a genre. There are many ways to fail: go bankrupt, get acquired, get acqui-hired. To fail well, however, you have to get your story straight. A good founder story always describes failure without bitterness. It has been an incredible journey. I learned a ton. It presents every failure as temporary—a waystation to success.
Storytelling is not only for founders. It is a skill that everyone at a startup should cultivate, because the vast majority of startups will fail. And when you suddenly learn that you are out of work and all that equity you pulled all those all-nighters to earn is worthless, no job interviewer will want to hear that you got screwed over. They want to hear how you grew.
If something you spent years working on fails, you do not just need a story to tell your current or future employers; you need a story to tell yourself. You want to be able see those years as part of an incredible journey, too.
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