Imagine this is your big night. Everything you’ve been working for over the past years is about to manifest itself. You’ve secured a legendary music act for the magical evening. Everyone’s watching. And… there’s a royal fuckup. A breaking – and making – fuckup. A fuckup you’ll remember years later, and perhaps even talk about to an audience.
This is what happened to Kate Gould, an Australian arts consultant and online business entrepreneur. She is noted by The Advertiser as “one of South Australia’s most influential women.” Next week in Leipzig, she’ll be trying to help you take the fear out of failure and have the courage to get back on the horse.
Coming up next Thursday, 18 August, FuckUp Nights Leipzig celebrates its 15th event with a special outdoor iteration at the beautiful Parkbühne Geyserhaus. This event features three new speakers, one of whom is Gould.
As you know, in our world, failure isn’t something often applauded. Having a crack is often perceived as being for nought, if its pre-determined outcomes are not met. The result of this is a skewed perception of success where experience and lessons learnt cower in the shadow of quantifiable gain. And here’s where FuckUp Nights comes in.
FuckUp Nights Leipzig is part of a global movement born in Mexico in 2012 to publicly share stories of business failure. Hundreds of people attend each monthly event to hear three to four entrepreneurs proudly flaunt their failures.
The first FuckUp Night in Leipzig took place at Business and Management Consultants Verwegener & Trefflich in May 2015. Since then, the event has grown in stature and size, hosted by venues like Westwerk, Westbad, Kunstkraftwerk, Konsumzentrale, Social Impact Lab, and Basislager Coworking.
Gould’s tale is one of the particularly gnarly ones.
It’s from an incident that occurred during one of her 4 years as CEO of the internationally acclaimed Adelaide Festival of Arts. We’ll let her tell you in her own words…
“My team and I worked for years to secure Ennio Morricone and his ensemble to perform with the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra exclusively at the Adelaide Festival. We secured him, huge coup, major national story. People travelled from all over Australia to see the great man perform for perhaps the first and last time live in Australia. I secured hundreds of thousands of dollars to make the concert happen.
“The concert was to be staged outdoor in the middle of the City of Adelaide. We considered every variable to make the event perfect to justify the high ticket price. We selected the perfect sound and lighting systems and operators, we contacted nearby venues, event promoters and traffic authorities to ensure the quietest environment possible for the concert in the middle of a major city.
“The concert started, the weather was spectacular. Every VIP was there, every journalist was there. I sat in the middle of the crowd as the Maestro lifted his baton at 8 pm. It was splendid. The quiet restraints of Cinema Paradiso.
“Then, at 8:10 pm, my night shattered…”
Uh-uh. No spoilers – you’ll have to come along to learn what went down on that fateful night. But we can tell you that often, behind each fuckup tale is also one of redemption.
Amongst Gould’s arts clients is MONA, the $200 million privately-owned Hobart museum taking the contemporary art world by storm. She has also founded a startup business of three online platforms, successfully selling one platform in 2016. Gould is also a director on various boards. From 2009-2014, she was the co-chair of South Australia’s Premier’s Council for Women.
To hear this and more inspiring fuckup tales (and perhaps also find out why Gould came all the way to Leipzig), go here: