Korean Entrepreneurs First Need to Learn How to Fail

Korean Entrepreneurs have a larger fear of failure than those in the western world. That might be mainly because of the strict standards set by their parents. In Silicon Valley, it is expected that you fail when starting a startup. Through failure, you can learn from your mistakes. However for Korean entrepreneurs, if they fail their first startup company, most give up and go back to corporate jobs.

Why Failure is Good for Korean Entrepreneurs

From my experience covering the Korean startup ecosystem, failure is actually better for you in the long run. For Koreans, they are able to face their fears head-on and realize that it is NOT the end of the world. If you read many of the great startup success stories in Korea, many have had failures but were able to rise above it.

Korean society looks down on failure. Similar to Japan and many other Asian countries. So it is implanted in us that failure is associated with some kind of flaw. Try to break away from this. Failure, in reality, propels your further and at a far greater level than you ever imagined. Failure is important because it gives you the strength and the fortitude to dig deep within yourself and find out what you are truly made of.

It has been said that failure is the greatest teacher of all time. It allows you to see the problem in a whole new way. You need to step away from what you know or you think you know and look for another answer to the problem.

One Problem has Many Answers

Successful People

Koreans usually take problems in a mathematical way of thinking. One problem with one answer. However, in the startup world, one problem can have hundreds of different ways of solving it. So if you fail, just know that there are answers still out there. Use these failures as a way to learn from your mistakes and what not to do in the future. It took Thomas Edison over one thousand tries to get the lightbulb right. However, Edison didn’t think of it was failing one thousand times but rather having one thousand steps in getting to the final product.

Always Keep in Mind the Worst Possible Outcome

Most Korean Entrepreneurs do not have a problem with this but what I mean is to just keep it in mind. So if it does happen you will be ready for it. What I noticed with many Korean startups is that they have unrealistic expectations and don’t go over the possible failures. Sometimes it is almost like a cult and everyone has to live this delusional lie. Unrealistic expectations are one thing but to not think about the possible problem and failures are leave a company unprepared and unequipped to deal with them.