Failure Is an Option -- Often a Good One -- Philly Tech Week Organizers Say

By AARON MOSELLE | Newsworks.org
|  Thursday, Apr 10, 2014  |  Updated 8:48 AM EDT
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Failure Is an Option -- Often a Good One

Emma Lee | NewsWorks.org

Entrepreneurs network at Philly Tech Week's Failfest at the Cira Center.

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Failure can be a touchy subject – especially in the business world.

The organizers of Philly Tech Week are hoping to change that by framing failure as a vital catalyst for business growth in the city.

With that in mind, dozens of entrepreneurs gathered Wednesday for #FailFest, a two-hour seminar on struggle and the good that can come from it.

"If you want to swing for something big, you will sometimes miss," said Christopher Wink, co-founder of Technically Philly, which organizes the weeklong series of events. "A lot of great entrepreneurs, perhaps all great entrepreneurs, are littered with stories of failure and how they've learned from them."

Jameel Farruk kicked things off with a war story about Inhabi, an "e-Harmony-style" matchmaking website for renters and landlords.

Farruk launched the company with a partner in 2011 when it was a rough time to be a homeowner.

"The housing market was in really bad shape. That meant more people were losing the homes they owned and moving into rental units," said Farruk.

But more renters eventually meant fewer open properties and fewer leads for landlords in need of lesees.

And so, a year after they started, Farruk and his partner faced facts and decided to shut down the self-funded startup.

"That's really the tough decision," he said. "Not deciding to just start a venture and put your own money into it, but breaking up with your venture and saying no and walking away is a really tough part of that."

Farrunk now works for a company specializing in branding and digital strategy.

Other speakers on Wednesday included former CDNOW CEO Mike Krupit and three-time Philadelphia mayoral candidate Sam Katz.

Philly Tech Week runs through Saturday.


This story is reported through a newsgathering partnership between NBC10.com and NewsWorks.org.

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