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Entrepreneurs make Fail Night a success

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — A few brave entrepreneurs shared some of their business failures Thursday night with more than 100 people at Tractor Brewery Downtown.

The crowd clapped, cheered and downed beers as the speakers told of some minor ­— and some very major — failures they had confronted as entrepreneurs.

At one point, Albuquerque Director for Economic Development Gary Oppedahl asked everyone to shout out “fail” in unison, which the crowd did with enthusiasm.

It was all part of the city’s new “Fail Night,” a monthly event to bring experienced and aspiring entrepreneurs together in a relaxed social environment to share lessons learned from failures while networking and supporting one another.

“Failures are important,” Oppedahl told the crowd. “It’s like being parents. We make lots of little mistakes — no fatal errors — and we learn as we go. Failure is a necessary part of success.”

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Mark Fidel of the cybersecurity firm RiskSense said the first business he invested in failed because the key computer programmer for the firm — a software startup — left for a better opportunity, leaving the business with major clients holding contracts that Fidel’s company could no longer fulfill. But Fidel and his partners stayed the course, making a six-figure investment to contract more developers so they could serve their customers.

“I learned the importance of maintaining integrity and doing the right thing,” Fidel said.

Fail Night will continue the first Thursday of every month, although it won’t always focus on failures.

Next month will be “Passion Night,” where people will discuss projects that they’re downright passionate about. And March brings “Winds of Change,” where people who have fundamentally changed their careers will share their experiences.

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