failureI am an advisor to a logistical solutions company in the Middle East, and was having a conversation with the founder and realized that one of the deepest issues and reasons that the company has not moved forward is deep rooted in the fear of failure. The founder is anxious even before starting to offer the many solutions the company is well positioned to carry out.

One of the biggest challenges startup founders face in the Arab region is reconciling society’s attitude toward failure, and the journey of working on a startup. In the Arab world, when you fail with your first company, build another that achieves great magnitude, your success is still overshadowed by your failure. In the states I find that when a founder fails, then succeeds, he is praised, followed, people want to know what lessons he learned. This not only builds his self esteem, but fuels his trajectory.

One of the major differences in attitude in the east versus the west, is the attitude toward failure. In the west, failure, and the ability to pick up oneself, and go one to succeed is applauded and respected. In the east, that one failure, no matter the success afterward or the pursuit of success, ends up being magnified adnauseum.

I am a big advocate of the lean startup method, which states that you should build and take to market ASAP. Get feedback, edit MVP, relaunch, edit, launch, pivot until the desired outcome is achieved. How does one do that in the Arab world when missteps are taken into account?


To founders in the region, continue failing. (Upwards). To investors, expect that and encourage it.

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