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Inside Silicon Valley's Annual Failure Conference At FailCon, entrepreneurs study other's failures and how to prepare for their success.

By Jennifer Wang

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.


Everyone loves a good failure story, especially in Silicon Valley. Yes, schadenfreude is a powerful thing, but this is not about that. This is about failure when it's the setup for a happy ending--those second chances that become the stuff of business legend. Because in business, those who didn't get it quite right the first (or seventh) time can still land on top: Witness PayPal, Apple and Twitter.

Nice, right? Except for one thing: These quick rags-to-riches tales gloss over the brutal fact that life as an entrepreneur is an emotional roller coaster, one that many people find too hard to take. Marc Andreessen, co-founder of Netscape and top venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz, has described it thusly: "You flip rapidly from day to day: one where you are euphorically convinced you are going to own the world, to [one] in which doom seems only weeks away and you feel completely ruined, and back again. Over and over and over."

Elon Musk, who famously borrowed money from friends to pay his rent before his companies Tesla Motors and SpaceX took off, is even more blunt. Entrepreneurship, he has said, is like "eating glass and staring into the abyss of death."

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