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Have You Reached F3 Status?

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October 23, 2019

If we played a word association game, what would come to mind when you see the following:

If you said, multi-level marketing, networking marketing, or consumer direct sales, you’re right. Perhaps at some point in your earlier years (or even now), a parental figure, friend or you personally carried the title independent operator title. 

Though often negatively affiliated with pyramid schemes, a large number of Americans find the flexibility, entrepreneurial quality of direct selling attractive.  18.6 million to be exact, of which a substantial 74 percent are women.  For many, it’s the hierarchy of achievement– often designed to mirror a ladder of social and economic mobility that seal the deal.  The pink Cadillac, seemingly unrestricted passive income or status levels that rival precious metals or stones– Diamond, gold or platinum. 

Personally, when it comes to airline points, I’m a sucker for the race to Executive Platinum, so there’s something to this behavioral psychology in practice !

Amway ranks as No. 42 on Forbes list of privately held companies, bringing in $8.6 BN in revenue last year. Yet, the Federal Trade Commission has closely monitored these business model, and according to a study of 350 MLMs, 99% of people who join these companies lose money — and fail. 

So this week, we’re exploring a few differed level of entrepreneurial growth.  The kind we rarely acknowledge, but should speak about with more frequency:  failure, funerals and f’Ups.

Death at a Funeral

When a startup dies, particularly in the absence of fraud or defalcation, why do communities try to sweep the news under the rug? According to CB insights, 70% of upstart tech companies fail — usually around 20 months after the first raising financing.  Trends like Startup Funeral or Failurecon are re-directing the focus.  This review of 323 post-mortems reveals these’s real value in celebrating the valiant effort it takes to launch a ventures.  In doing so, we elevate the learnings for the benefit of others.  When’s the last time you celebrated the death of company?

The Subtle Art of F’Ups

We’re going to keep things PG here and use the abbreviation F’Up. (Hopefully, we’re on the same page though). Scientists and true inventors will tell you that F’Ups during the R&D process yield some of the most amazing innovations. When you think of Bubble Wrap, WD-40, Nintendo or Dyson Vacuums or even the Pacemaker, I doubt failure comes to mind.  But, these products only exist because of F’Ups that were initially considered failures.

When is the last time a boss, colleague or friends said, I can’t wait to share what I learned from my biggest F’Up!  It’s just not said (unless you participate in the now-global event series, F*ckUp Nights).  And, that’s unfortunate.  Our F’Ups can be our greatest teachers.


FailCon‘s goal is eliminate the taboo nature of failure. Indeed, Thomas Edison’s approach to failure is the benchmark for a #failforward mindset: “I have not failed 10,000 times. I have not failed once. I have succeeded in proving that those 10,000 ways will not work. When I have eliminated the ways that will not work, I will find the way that will work.”

This approach to failure isn’t just novel, it’s necessary.   Emotional resilience and an ability to think through setbacks is what got us the lightbulb.  Studies show that a growth mindset (as opposed to fixed) is a critical attribute of successful entrepreneurs. If your relationship with failure is riddled with shame, judgment or defeat, consider adapting a lens of learning instead.

If you’ve reach F3 status  by way of startup funeral, failure or F’Up, we salute you.  And, if  you’re up to it, share you F3 story  so we can avoid making the same mistakes.


Leigh-Ann / Venture Cafe Miami

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