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Loser Chic In the new economy, losers are winners and failures are fawned over (well, sometimes). Is business failure the new cool?

By David Rottenberg

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

It began in high-tech. Twenty- and thirtysomethings startingtheir own companies and making millions. Bill Gates, Steve Jobs,Peter Norton, to name just a few. Silicon Valley of the 1980s waslike the California gold rush of the late 1840s. Anyone who couldwrite a few lines of code or put together a computer in the garagetried his luck.

But like the gold rush, while a few struck it rich, the vastmajority went bust. "For all the great success stories to comeout of Silicon Valley, it has spawned many, many morefailures," says David Needle, a columnist for Techweekmagazine who has covered the high-tech industry since 1981.

Even in failure, however, all that entrepreneurial effortdidn't go to waste. It engendered an attitude that has spreadthroughout the rest of the country: If you're going to take theentrepreneurial plunge, do it while you're young. Success ismore glorious, and failure, if it happens, holds less sting.

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