The UK is too cynical about trying new things, argues Slack CTO

San Francisco's positive attitude towards failure said to be a driving force behind its startup dominance

The UK's overly negative attitude towards failure is hampering the job prospects of applicants that have been previously associated with a collapsed startup, according to Slack's chief technology officer.

Cal Henderson has also criticised the UK of being too cynical about trying new things, in an interview with the Telegraph.

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Henderson grew up in Bedfordshire but has spent the last 15-years in America and Canada. One of his first roles at a tech company was at Flickr, the image hosting site launched by Slack's CEO Stewart Butterfield.

As proof of concept, both Flickr and Slack were born out of failed ventures in gaming, something that Henderson believes would be seen as negative in the UK.

"If I had started a tech company in the UK, my friends and family would have said: why don't you get a real job?" Henderson told The Telegraph.

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"And then, when it inevitably failed, the reaction would have been: well of course it failed - now you can get a real job. But If you do the same thing in San Francisco, the reaction to your company failing is: what did you learn from it and what are you going to do next?"

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Despite Henderson's comments, the UK's tech sector is often championed as a leader in Europe and a breeding ground for Unicorns, with companies such as Deliveroo and Monzo. However, despite many successes, Henderson argues that the UK does a poor job of capitalising on its numerous failures. 

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"That lack of cynicism around failure - that relentless optimism - is the thing that sets the Bay Area apart from the rest of the world, and especially the UK," he said. "Most-start-ups and most companies fail, so if you're only willing to try once, you're unlikely to succeed."

A recent report by BusinessComparrison.com suggested that the best place in the UK to launch a startup and keep it running beyond the first five years was Bristol. The South West city has a 45% survival rate for the 2,750 firms launched since 2013. 

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