Yeaoh: Break the taboo of failure in entrepreneurs

MaGIC CEO Cheryl Yeoh in Mindvalley session

The Malaysian Global Innovation and Creativity Centre (MaGIC) is hiring ‘failed entrepreneurs’, to encourage the individuals to rejoin or remain in the ecosystem and give their talent a second chance.

CEO Cheryl Yeoh said during a live interview session with Mindvalley founder Vishen Lakhiani that it was no surprise that the startup ecosystem would have many ventures that did not make it. Rather than letting the entrepreneurs recoil and drop out from the ecosystem, MaGIC believed in retaining or absorbing them, mutually benefiting both the entrepreneurs and the entire ecosystem, she said.

“We are hiring failed entrepreneurs. I think it’s awesome that they have tried and I want entrepreneurs to stay in the system, otherwise how would they know what it is like to really be an entrepreneur, to fail and succeed,” she told the audience at the ‘Inside The Mind Of..’ session.

Yeoh recalled an episode in November last year at Stanford University where over 50 selected Malaysian entrepreneurs were given an opportunity to learn and network with renown faculty and industry experts under the e@Stanford Programme.

“In one of the sessions, a Stanford University professor said: ‘Do you know more than half of you will fail?’ And all of them were a quite aghast. They took it so seriously,” she shared, “I got up and said that if half of them failed, the other half who succeeded should hire the rest. And it was like a light bulb appeared, suddenly they were seeing failure in a new light and that they should get to know each other better.”

Yeoh noted that the Silicon Valley culture was exactly like that.

“There are so many startups, and of course some of them will fail because the supply outweighs the demand for products and services. What happens in Silicon Valley is then the weaker startups get absorbed into the bigger startups, and that’s okay because that makes the successful companies stronger. It’s not a failure that you are now part of a better vehicle,” she commented.

Answering a question about what can be done to create more entrepreneurs in Malaysia, Yeoh said that a change was needed, especially in the local education system, so that students get to explore their passion and talent, and learn that failure is part of growth.

“Accepting failure – we need to teach people that failure is okay,” she said, emphasising the need to eradicate the taboo of failure.

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Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.