It all started with a group of five friends drinking mezcal. A considerable amount of it. Leti asked why everyone always talks about the Zuckerbergs and Gates of the world, but no one shares candid stories of failure.
With the liquid courage of a few mezcales in our bellies, each of us shared our most important failure, beginning a magical conversation that allowed us to get to know each other better and connect on an even deeper level. We decided to share this life-changing experience with more friends, creating the first FuckUp Night in 2012.
Fast forward a few years and FuckUp, Inc. is:
- Fuckup Nights (FUN): A global movement with events in more than 300 cities of more than 80 countries, speaking more than 30 languages (and growing).
- Failure Institute: A think-tank that works with governments, corporations, development agencies, and ecosystems around the world to turn our content into data that informs public policy and fosters economic development.
- FUN Media: A media platform experimenting with new formats to increase our reach.
We wanted to get drunk, and instead, we ended up wanting to help advance capitalism to a new stage of transparency through a global organization.
How did that happen? And… can we help make it happen to you and more people?
Here’s my attempt to answer those questions. At every step, we’ve tried to stay true to our principles while using these 10 values to inform our decisions.
1. We take a stand: In moments of increasing polarization and inequality, it’s important to choose the right side of history and be vocal and active about it. We’re trying to get better at this.
2. We act from a place of love: For us, happiness is witnessing acts of love. Meaning is performing acts of love. We create our initiatives with these ideas in mind.
3. We are humble, but we bow to no one: We know we’re privileged and lucky. We feel honored to be a part of FuckUp, and we do our best to increase its impact. And no, we’re not going to change our name or the way we do things in exchange for your money or approval.
4. We strive to build trust: By minimizing hierarchy and control over others, we try to be happier, more efficient, and smarter than companies working to squeeze profits for their shareholders.
5. We recognize our egos and try to defeat them: This requires significant, ongoing effort, but it has brought us to what feels like a new level of conscience that opens the door to personal fulfilment.
6. We make it personal: Too many gurus out there. Less preaching about failure (or success, or anything else for that matter) and more telling personal stories with vulnerability and actual wisdom.
7. We default to open: If we aren’t sure if we should communicate or share something, we do it, we default to transparency. Sometimes it hurts at the beginning, but we consider it a good long-term investment.
8. We are hackers: We don’t complain (ok… sometimes we do), we try to find solutions and to share them with the world.
9. We facilitate by being servant leaders: Too many megalomaniac “leaders” already. We don’t have all the right solutions, nor do we want to pretend that we have them. Being facilitators for discussions and initiatives is more FUN.
10. We keep it simple: As simple as possible. Except when we don’t… and fuck up.
Staying as true as possible to these values has allowed us to experience everything from people who share that they didn’t commit suicide thanks to FuckUp Nights, to Fuckuppers (local organizers) making a life and a living from FUN, to entire organizations and groups of people changing their cultures and mindsets for the better.
We hope these values and ideas help inspire you. If they don’t, you can try with some mezcal. Just make sure to invite us.
If you want to join us as a Fuckupper, partner, friend, or anything else, please email [email protected]
Author: Pepe Villatoro ([email protected])