Shabnam Aggarwal: On Hindsight Conference and Opening Conversation around Failure

10th Apr 2011
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“A safe open space where people expose their failures worth sharing and learning from. Failure is human, but we hide it in an effort to show the world we’ve done something really great just by pure genius - which is often not the case. Most successes are the fruits of many failures. If we keep reinventing the failure wheel, we keep setting ourselves back further as a society. If we exposed our failures to one another, perhaps we’d be able to build and make bigger, more important mistakes that would shine light on more incredible solutions. I truly believe the impact this could have in uplifting the disadvantaged of the world, at a time when we are headed for a downward spiral of poverty, could be immense.” says Shabnam Aggarwal

YourStory chatted with Shabnam Aggarwal, the force behind Hindsight Conference. We at YourStory appreciate Shabnam’s vision of uncovering failure!

Story behind Hindsight conference

Before I started The Teach Tour, I started a company called Millee. If other educational companies had shared their failures with us, then it was possible that Millee would not have gone through some of our mistakes and potentially would have learnt from those mistakes and would have had succeeded in a better way. In a conversation with a professor at MIT, I realised that there are many conferences that talk about ideas that are successful, but, rarely do they talk about failures. So that is when the idea came up.

When is the conference going to happen? And where?

The first hindsight conference is going to happen during Aug-Oct time frame. It is going to happen in Boulder, Colorado.

This is something very new. Usually people don’t come out in the open and talk about failure. Did you face any resistance while starting up?

You will actually be surprised to know that, I haven’t faced any challenges convincing people so far. Many people I talked to, can relate to failure and actually want something like this to happen. Not one conference that happens talks about this very human thing, ‘failure’. People have been forthright about wanting to speak at the conference and advising the company.

Format

The first conference that we are looking at is more of a retreat, and is for a small group of people, may be 40-50 people, wherein for three days they stay completely away from technology and spend time engaging with each other and learning from each other’s failures. We are going to have 2-3 big name speakers, but, for most part it is going to be a workshop based conference where people interact with each other.

Eventually, what we are going to do is something like TEDx’s for hindsight. So we will outsource to people/companies who want to host Hindsight in other cities over various topics.

What kind of support are you looking for right now?

I am looking for funding, I am looking for big investors and ambassadors who are interested in opening up this conversation around failure and potentially redefining the way we look at failure. Also, I am looking for people who want to come on board as advisors.

For more details on the conference, please check out http://hindsightcon.com/about And we at YourStory believe that more such conversations around failure should open up, especially in countries like India.

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