This research focuses on “the rhetoric of entrepreneurial practice.” We conducted quantitative and qualitative linguistic analysis of ways that entrepreneurs talk about failure based on 89 usable transcriptions of presentations given at Stanford University between 2001 and 2013. Findings highlight: Entrepreneurs discuss failure as part of the social norm of entrepreneurship. Failure is paradoxically related to success. Entrepreneurs tend to characterize failure as positive and discuss positive failure using temporal (e.g., “fail fast”) and scalable (e.g., “leverage it”) language. Finally, entrepreneurs rarely recount personal stories or anecdotes about failure: they tended to talk in clichés.
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The 33rd Babson College Entrepreneurship Research Conference (BCERC) 2013