published 13 Apr 2015 3 minutes 51 seconds to read

Spotlight on Failure

Our cofounders Claudia and Ondrej about the reasons for a 'Spotlight Failure' for CEE, a preview on upcoming articles and inventures' experience with failure.



  • HowTo admit failure.Michael Schuster from SpeedInvest about failing with his startup.
  • The science behind failure. Experts explain failure from the point of Neuro Science and Psychology
  • The muscle effect. Runtastic founder Florian Gschwandter opens up on his personal experience with failure and risk.
  • The professional risktaker. Our feature about how investors handle the daily risk.
  • HowTo liquidate your company. Professional advice from tax experts on the topic.
  • The communication of failure. How do you tell 250 people that they lost their job? A founder shares his experience.
  • Two life stories. We met two extraordinary entrepreneurs whose failure made headlines and turned their lifes around.

When talking about failure, it is really hard to come with one single definition. Failure means something different for everyone of us, also because we perceive risk differently. Some of us might accept the bankruptcy of their companies with a shrug, but would never ride a rollercoaster in this life. Some master their entrepreneurial careers without a major hiccup, but seem unable to establish a stable private life. Regardless, of the discipline or intensity we accept there can never be one single definition, yet the quest to understand one's own fears is essential for any entrepreneur.  

Are CEE entrepreneurs more enterprising than others?

Another reason we have decided to talk about failure is the region we come from. Recently, the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) survey has shown that one in three aspiring entrepreneurs from Central and Eastern Europeans countries would be deterred from setting up a business for fear of failure. In our interviews we experience this fear every day – the stigma of a failure one needs to carry, the societal pressure to get a ‘safe’ job or a financial impact that comes with failing in. While we may not be culturally gifted to take our fears lightly, we believe it is essential for our region to get a grip on the essence of fear and find a healthier way of dealing with it.

In the series of articles you are about to read from 13 - 23 April, we have asked many entrepreneurs to share their stories of failure, how they dealt with it and what they were able to learn from it. We thought it would be only fair to also share some of ours:

The inventures story: our biggest failures

Photo credit: TOSA

In 2013, we were invited to produce a print supplement for a big Austrian newspaper, the inventures magazine. We outsourced the sales part, since we had no experience in that area whatsoever and this arrangement worked well for the first edition. Then, our sales partner broke the news that orders were faked and not one single advertisement had been sold. The publishing date for the second edition came closer and we were completely unable to sell anything – zero, zip, nada, zilch.

We also tried other newspapers as supplement partners, but there was already too much competition, since the startup topic was already hot. A year later, when we launched Ventures Almanach Austria 2015, its success made up for the our previous failure. It is clear to us that we wouldn’t have been able to compile an entire book if we hadn’t had print experience with the magazine.

So, although we didn’t succeed the first time, we sure learned and adapted, but didn’t give up on our print ambitions.

The total blackout and how we stood up again

We haven’t only let down our regular readers but also lost about six months of articles. 

As many of you noticed, our website has experienced a major disruption a couple of weeks ago. We haven’t only let down our regular readers but also lost about six months of articles. Every word, every image, every quote. It wasn’t a hack by North Korea or an earthquake in our data center. It was a mistake by our admin when setting up the service with our provider, a mistake that could have been easily avoided at no cost and in no time. The only bright thing in this whole mess has been the team who stuck together and for long days worked their fingers to their bones to restore the service to normal. So when we got into trouble (and we knew that we would at some point), we were lucky enough to have a superb team.

If you feel people should hear from your personal experiences, please share them with us. The more people share their stories on their personal failure, the less of a stigmata it becomes.

Enjoy the failure spotlight and make sure you do our fear checker,

Claudia & Ondrej