I don’t even remember how I first came across Fuck Up Nights Toronto. It was probably through Facebook, but the name and what it stood for really grabbed my attention. Enough to attend their events several times. More often than not, we only hear about entrepreneurs share their successes. I thought it was so refreshing to listen to successful entrepreneurs share some of their biggest failures (fuckups) and more importantly, what they had learned from them.
Marsha Druker 0:00
“So failure really does need to be embedded and you know, in those younger generations and really show them that it’s something that’s not only okay, but it’s you know, it’s part of learning and it’s part of being human and that’s part of being successful.“
Karen Swyszcz 0:14
You’re listening to The Bacon Bits ‘n’ Bytes Podcast, and I’m your host, Karen Swyszcz. This is the podcast where a bit of business and a byte of technology come together.
Hey, everyone, and thanks again for tuning in to another episode of The Bacon Bits ‘n’ Bytes Podcast and today I am very excited to be talking to Marcia Druker, the Founder of Fuckup Nights Toronto and Host of The Create Community Podcast. Before getting into community building, she held various marketing and PR roles in companies ranging from consumer packaged goods to tech startups. She also lived in startup nation, Tel Aviv, Israel. Her experience living and working abroad inspired her to start up Fuckup Nights Toronto. Marsha believes that community building is all about being a good listener and creating value for event attendees, partners and team members. Welcome to the show, Marsha.
Marsha Druker 1:20
Thanks so much for having me. I’m super excited to chat with you.
Karen Swyszcz 1:22
Yeah, likewise. And just before I get started, I just want to let you know that I am such a huge fan like I’ve been like fangirling you for a while. I don’t mean to sound like creepy or anything (laughs).
Marsha Druker 1:34
I love that. That’s so sweet. You’re definitely a name that stands out. I know, you’ve been to quite a few of our events and you’ve always been so engaged with our community. So that really means a lot.
Karen Swyszcz 1:44
Before like people will learn more about the events in the interview. But yeah, I highly recommend going to them and yeah, it’s funny because I’ve always wanted to speak at one of the events and this is like in our conversation before we start recording that I feel I don’t have like a big have enough fuckup. Or I haven’t you know, we have I have all these like little fuck ups. So I don’t know if that’s enough to speak at it. So I’m like waiting till I have a big fuck up before I can speak at an event.
Marsha Druker 2:12
I love hearing that. I’d like that’s becoming like a really popular sentiment, which I love. Like I think Fuckup Nights has actually kind of brought that to life in Toronto and across Canada and across the world where failure is almost cool. And it’s people almost like now want to have a failure just so they could talk at Fuckup Nights. Pretty funny.
Karen Swyszcz 2:30
That is. So you’ve lived abroad and you’ve worked at a startup in Tel Aviv, which is where you have attended your first Fuckup Night. So how did you find out about the event and what was it like attending the event for your first time?
Marsha Druker 2:44
Yeah, so I think like a lot of my attendees here in Toronto, the name Fuckup Nights kind of popped up on my Facebook newsfeed. I saw the event and I had to check it out. I mean, I was like, What is this crazy, edgy name and then I looked into it and I just absolutely loved the concept that was like.
This is so different from anything that I’ve been to in Toronto or in Tel Aviv while I was living there. And just love the name obviously definitely caught my eye. And yeah, I went to that event, and I was completely blown away because I used to go to a lot of events in Toronto while I was living in Tel Aviv, you know, things in the tech ecosystem and marketing, which is my specialty. And after a while, they all kind of started to feel the same because it was people sharing, you know, how successful they are or the tactics that they use to, to get successful and how their company was a unicorn, all of that stuff, but you kind of know, in the back of your head that that’s not the full picture. And that’s not really the reality for a lot of people. And you kind of know, in the back of your head that you know, like any super successful company or any super successful person, they kind of struggle to get to where they are.
So here was the event where there was the successful entrepreneurs and professionals are really just like completely taking off the filter, and sharing their real stories and sharing their biggest fuck ups in business, they talk about their personal life as well. And to me as an event attendee, it was so refreshing. And then I also felt like the community just, it felt different. It felt like people had their guard down, people felt more open and didn’t really feel like networking at other events, because people were kind of approaching it with that sense of, you know, I just heard these, these fuckup stories, let me kind of like, share a little bit of who I am as well, instead of, you know, just looking for for a transactional sort of conversation. So yeah, I just, I was absolutely blown away and just fell in love with the concept.
Karen Swyszcz 4:39
Awesome. So what is the startup culture like over there? And have you noticed, like, were there any differences between the one over there and here in Canada? Yeah. So I mean, Canada, like now, you know, when I was in Tel Aviv, this was early 2016. While I was there at the time in Toronto, you know, our ecosystem was was really like, I would say like starting up. There was a lot of excitement in the air, but it was still kind of really far away from what it was in Tel Aviv where it’s very established. And you know, it’s right behind Silicon Valley and a number of startups per capita. There’s a lot of huge companies that are headquartered in Tel Aviv like Wix being one of them. Waze was started in Israel and acquired by Google. Monday.com is there.
Like there’s a lot of really big names that a lot of people don’t realize are actually headquartered and based, in Tel Aviv in Israel. So at the time when I was looking to go there, late 2015 I just really wanted to get into the tech ecosystem. And I felt like that was the place to do it versus in Toronto at the time. If it was today, I’d probably have a different answer for you. Today I think the Toronto tech ecosystem is super exciting. There’s so much happening and it’s really booming. But at the time, there was you know, you couldn’t even compare the two. Tel Aviv was like light years ahead.
Karen Swyszcz 6:01
Oh really. That’s really cool that you mentioned like Waze and Monday app was part of it. I never even guessed. Like to be honest, I would have just assumed that they were started in either Silicon Valley or Toronto. So it’s really cool to hear of other startups that were founded in other parts of the world like Spotify that was founded in Sweden, right?
Marsha Druker 6:22
Yeah, super cool. Yeah. And Israel as well. Like Fiverr is another really big name. There’s honestly there’s tons of them that are really you know, widely used across North America that people have no idea actually started there and grew from there and you know, have a huge presence in North America and offices all across as well. But their HQ is there.
Karen Swyszcz 6:41
Cool. Okay, so a common question I ask people on the show is if they’ve ever encountered any obstacles when they were first starting out their company, so has there ever been a fuckup getting Fuck Up Nights Toronto off the ground or even during an event?
Marsha Druker 6:56
Oh my gosh, there’s been way too many. Like, I can do a whole event just dedicated to the fuck ups of Fuckup Nights. Where do I even start (laughs)?
I mean, so Fuck Up Nights was the first time that I kind of started doing events. So it was a steep learning curve for me. Like I came from marketing PR background and that proved really helpful and I think was the skillset that really helped me get it off the ground. But when it came to actually running the events themselves, I was really kind of learning as I went.
So I think like one of the early fuck-ups at the beginning. One big thing was that I didn’t really build a team right away I had volunteers at the first event but they weren’t really involved in the planning of the event itself. I just had them come on the night of the event and kind of help set it up. And I didn’t really have like clear roles for people I was like, let’s just like see what happens we’ll see what’s needed. And it was definitely you know, like for an event attendee you don’t really see it. Like if you’re able to get checked in okay, and you get food and whatever the experience but behind the scenes, it was a little bit crazy for the volunteers because I didn’t really have defined roles. And that was something that I learned really quickly. And then from our second event and moving forward, I always had like a very detailed email to all the volunteers, everybody had a specific role there was, you know, we kind of iterated on it every time with feedback, and now it runs really smoothly from that perspective.
But yeah, from the first event, that was definitely one of them. I would say, with speakers. I think with the first event I really, you know, I didn’t put enough importance on the speakers. I didn’t. I don’t think like I didn’t understand from day one, how important they were to the event and that, you know, they are the lifeblood of what Fuckup Nights is and without their stories, it wouldn’t exist. So for example, with that first event, I didn’t think to even have speaker gifts for the speakers. I was so busy with everything else with the event with you know, all the logistics of organizing it and making it happen.
And that, that kind of took a backseat and reflecting back on it. And that was another thing that I changed immediately, from events to just really understanding that the speakers are what makes or breaks it. And they, they’re building the community just as much as I am, if not more. So, really just making sure that you know, we’re creating a separate community for the speakers where, where they can kind of stay in touch with each other, speaker gifts, really keeping them engaged with the community, and just really showing appreciation for their stories. That was a huge thing.
But I would say the biggest fuckup that I had with Fuckup Nights was again, going back to this idea of not having a team right away and trying to do it all myself, which over time ended up leading to really bad burnout for myself. So I was working a full-time job when I was starting Fuckup Nights as a marketing manager at a startup. And I just I thought I could be Superwoman. So I would, you know, work all day at the startup and then I would stay up until two or three at night, in the morning working on Fuckup Nights. And that was not sustainable. So I did both for about a year. And my performance definitely was not where it should have been at that startup. And I ended up getting let go from that job. And that was a huge, it was a huge fuckup. And that it was preventable in a number of ways. I mean, if I had built the team, from day one and delegated more, I think I could have avoided some of that burnout.
And then also, when I saw that I was way more passionate about building my own thing and what was happening with Fuckup Nights and the growth trajectory that it was on, I could have made that decision myself to leave but I kind of waited and thought that I could do it all and I couldn’t.
Karen Swyszcz 10:37
Hmm. And why do you think like burnout or entrepreneurs wanting to do it all is so common?
Marsha Druker 10:44
Yeah, I think there’s I mean, there it kind of goes back to this idea of that hustle culture and I think as an entrepreneur or even as a you know, as a professional who’s really trying to be at the top of their field. You almost feel guilty when you’re not working and you’re not building something and you know, in the back of your mind that, you know you should be taking time to, to relax and just kind of, you know, unplug from everything and focus on things that kind of bring you joy outside of your work. But when you’re building something, and it’s growing so quickly, and it’s so exciting, it’s very easy to kind of get consumed by it. And just, you know, kind of take like, you know, just, you know, one more week of like, full in on this and then I could relax a little bit and then it just kind of it almost has this like, snowball effect where it really creeps up on you.
Karen Swyszcz 11:29
Yeah, for sure. So now we know that people tend to be more open about like talking about their failures. And like Fuckup Nights is really popular in that, especially in Toronto, and then in other parts of the world. But like before this concept existed, why do you think like people were so afraid to talk about failure, even though pretty much everyone goes through it? And then if you’re an entrepreneur, you go through it several times?
Marsha Druker 11:53
Yeah, that’s a really interesting question. I mean, I think the concept of failure and really just taking your filter off at seeing something that’s kind of taboo. And I think that’s, of course, shifted over the last few years with initiatives like Fuckup Nights, where it’s becoming something that’s kind of cool. But the whole concept of, you know, social media or entrepreneurship. Let’s look at Instagram, for example, you know, people want to curate this feed, that shows them at their best, you’re not going to be posting a picture of yourself on your worst day. Right. And I think that’s kind of shifting as well. But, you know, for the most part, people want to show the best parts of their lives, the best parts of themselves.
And then I think that’s amplified even more as entrepreneurs, because you want to be seen as this person that’s, you know, leading this company, and therefore, you want people to have confidence in you, and you want people to have confidence in your product or your company. So of course, you’re going to put the best things forward, and you’re going to be kind of afraid to show the struggles that are happening. Whereas now I think when people really think about failure and through what Fuckup Nights is doing is showing that it’s part of being a human, you know, we’re not robots, of course, we’re going to fuck up along the way. But I think it makes you that much stronger. I think it’s really only a failure if you didn’t learn something from it, or if you keep making the same mistake over and over. But I think failure is becoming this thing that’s, you know, it’s becoming more accepted when it’s seen as a way of learning. And it’s people are, are failing mindfully. And I know for example, in, in Silicon Valley, their failure has, you know, it’s been more embedded for a while now, where it’s, you know, a lot of the time, a VC wouldn’t even invest it in a founder or in a startup, if they had didn’t see that they had another failure under their belt. They want to see that they kind of failed before, that they’ve experimented, and now they’re kind of bringing those lessons forward in their new startup.
Karen Swyszcz 13:44
Yeah, it’s interesting that you mentioned about failing mindfully, I’m just thinking towards the younger generations and future generations. Do you think the concept of failure and how to deal with it is something that should be taught in schools because I could remember like growing up in school and then even in like conversations with my parents that was never, like it never came up. It was always like, okay, you need to like do your best and like get all A’s and you can’t fail.
Marsha Druker 14:13
Yeah, um, it was the same for me growing up as well. I think it’s so critical that we teach failure as like, as early as we can, like, I would say starting from like those very early grades, because school is notorious for teaching success. You know, you’re measured on your grades and, you know, you’re taught how to succeed and, you know, you want to reach that hundred percent, but not everybody could do that. And that’s not what success is about.
And so failure really does need to be embedded and you know, in those younger generations and really show them that it’s something that’s not only okay, but it’s, you know, it’s it’s part of learning and it’s part of being human and that’s part of being successful.
Because if you’re not failing, you’re, you’re almost failing by default could because you’re probably playing it too safe, and you’re not reaching your full potential because if you’re afraid to fail, you’re not going to be going for those, you know, like risky things or just things that you want to try.
So I think it’s super important that it’s something that Fuckup Nights is definitely working on. There’s, we’re starting up with some universities to have dedicated chapters, where it’s like student organized, and then also through doing private events, going into universities, high schools, as well to talk to students there and you know, have some of their peers or like slightly older students that are alumni of those schools coming back and chatting to them. And it’s so useful, and it really opens up their minds. And we’ve seen a shift even with our public events in Toronto.
There’s actually there’s a professor in Ryerson, who actually assigned that for a part of her entrepreneurship class for students to come out to Fuckup Nights and to write an essay on a talk that resonated with them and what they learned. And then so we’ve been seeing a lot of students come through just from that, but then also their friends finding out about it from people who aren’t even in that entrepreneurship class, we just as students want to come out and learn from these stories. So there’s definitely a hunger for it. And I’ve had so much great feedback from students that have kind of been exposed to the concept or even just watched some of our videos online. And they really felt like it was so eye opening for them and so different from what’s kind of taught in school.
Karen Swyszcz 16:23
Wow, that’s really amazing that you’re involving universities in that because I’m thinking especially when you’re entering your first year of university, you’re very vulnerable. And I’m speaking like from personal experience, like I felt I was a failure like trying to juggle demanding workload, being away from home and then just trying to make friends. I felt like I was kind of failing in life and this is something that I wish had existed. So I would have known you know, it’s okay, to fail, you can get there and for me, like for the longest time, I struggled a lot with failure, but um, ever since I started my blog and then started my consulting business I got more comfortable with failure but it took like years and years for me to you know, embrace it.
Marsha Druker 17:07
Yeah, absolutely. I think that’s the tricky thing. I suppose you’re super vulnerable I think when, when you’re starting a new part of your journey, whether it’s entering high school and you know, you’re just getting accustomed to everything. And then I think even more so University, like everything is kind of amplified because you’re still so young, but you have this newfound independence. And then yeah, like my personal experience, I went to Schulich School of Business and it’s like, it’s a pretty small class size, and you’re there with really high achieving high achieving people that you know, were like top of their class in high school and so competitive to get in.
And, you know, the people that get in there probably at the top of their class, I felt this I was really at the top of my class in high school. And then I was in this new environment where I was like, not one of the smartest people in the room anymore, where I was like, you know, like really struggling and in some of my classes. I’m just getting used to everything and getting accustomed to it. I wish that something like Fuckup Nights existed at that time. I think it would have been really helpful and it would have helped me transition into that journey a little bit easier and a little bit smoother.
Karen Swyszcz 18:09
Mm hmm. I just want to touch on your interview with Forbes.com. You mentioned the practice of not letting your failure define you. And that it can be true for some women who tend to internalize failure as a reflection of their lack of abilities. Why do you think this is more common in women versus men?
Marsha Druker 18:25
Yeah, there’s, I mean, there’s a lot of data on it, which you can kind of take a look at. There’s a lot of interesting case studies. But it kind of comes down to this one thing that when a woman fails, and something a lot of the times she’ll really internalize it, and she’ll see it as something that was her fault, even if there were outside factors or you know, things that kind of led to that failure.
But it doesn’t mean that I am a Fuckup. It means that, you know, I tried something new, it didn’t work out, what can I learn from it? And how can I use those lessons to pivot and to move on to the next thing? So the good thing about it is like, yeah, women do tend to kind of internalize it more, and they’ll dwell on it a little bit more and kind of blame themselves. But the good news is that this is kind of something that you can consciously start to shift in your mind. And, you know, really try to learn from other people’s failures, and really consciously rewire your thinking to kind of be able to separate your ego from the failure that happened or the business that failed.
And really, recognizing that just because this thing fucked up, doesn’t mean that I as a person, I’m a fuckup. That really helps to contextualize it and then you can really kind of observe that failure and learn from it in a way that’s going to help you a lot more than trying to take the blame for it.
Karen Swyszcz 19:57
Mm hmm. Yeah, I find like, for me, and maybe for a lot of other women too is just when when it happens, I guess like when it’s so fresh or in the moment is all these emotions that are coming into play, but I find, you know, after some time has passed, and I like had time to just like, kind of let it simmer and let myself like let myself kind of like dwell on it for a bit. And once I’ve kind of like had that time and able to think more clearly, it’s like, okay, now I can move on. But yeah, it’s just so crazy. Like, you’re in the moment. It’s like, why is this happening? Why did it happen to me? Why didn’t this work? And like asking all these questions (laughs).
Marsha Druker 20:32
Yeah, oh my god, it’s so true. And then, especially as women like another thing that kind of plays into this, and again, this is very well documented. You know, if there’s like, your dream job is posted, and you go on, and you see that you only meet 70% of the qualifications. A lot of the time as a woman, you’re just you’re gonna disqualify yourself and you’re not even going to apply for it just knowing that you’re not gonna, that you haven’t met 100% of what’s listed there.
Whereas again, a man, or just again, like I don’t want to just single out that you know, it’s just men that do this. But again, somebody that’s like more seasoned in their career and their profession, or whatever, they kind of look at it and they recognize that yeah, maybe I’m not like 100% match for this, but I’m still gonna go for it. And I have transferable skills. I’m a quick learner, and you know, this is really in my wheelhouse, that I can kind of really perform well in this position. So that’s another thing to kind of be conscious of, too, and something where we can shift our mindset around that.
Karen Swyszcz 21:28
Mm hmm. Yeah, I think these days, it’s really more about like learning as you go and failing as much as possible, like learning from it so that you have the experience. Uh huh. Okay, so I wanted to get into something that pretty much everyone has been talking about because it’s completely impossible to not talk about how people are handling the COVID situation.
So last month, when we were chatting about you being a guest on the podcast, you were in the middle of planning your three year anniversary and then made the decision to cancel the event due to the rising concerns of COVID-19 being in a pandemic, which we are now in. So if you don’t mind sharing, like, what was that, like, you’ve spent so much time and effort planning event, you were looking forward to it and then making that difficult decision to cancel it.
Marsha Druker 22:12
Yeah, it was a, it was a really surreal experience. I think that’s the best word to to kind of use in that situation. Um, so yeah, we were planning this event for months. So it was our three year anniversary. We really mark those milestones at Fuckup Nights, because I think, you know, just like a business is so likely to fail within their first year.
A community is no different and Fuckup Nights has really thrived and it’s grown so much over the last three years. So we really wanted to celebrate that and we had a very special event planned at the Design Exchange. We had amazing speakers and we had this theme of sort of it was supposed to be this amazing celebration and the theme was sort of pinatas, have people walk in and feel like they were inside of a pinata just because Fuckup Nights was started in Mexico City and to kind of celebrate our roots there.
So it was supposed to be this incredible event that was you know, just like colorful. There was a candy bar that we were going to have bar amazing food, these incredible speakers, DJ. So it was going to be, you know, this amazing sort of educational event with the three stories of failure being shared, but then also just a celebration of how far our community has come celebrating all of our amazing speakers that have shared their stories over the last three years that have really built this community for us celebrating our team celebrating our partners. So it was a really big undertaking. And leading up to it, you know, we had around 350 people that were set to come to this event.
And you know, as an event planner, I was kind of watching this whole COVID situation unfold, and it was on my mind, and I was monitoring it. But the event was supposed to be on March 12. And leading up to it, you know, it still seemed like it was fine. Like there were some concerns. We were being told to kind of wash your hands more, but life was still normal and people were going about their day to day.
Today, that same week, I went to another event on the Monday with around 600 people totally fine. You know, there was a little bit like you could kind of sense that people were a little bit anxious. There was hand sanitizer, people were being advised to not shake hands. But the event was still happening. Other events were happening towards the end of the week. So I thought we were kind of in that spot where you know, this is probably going to be like one of the last events, that’s going to be okay. We’ll probably have to look at cancelling our regular monthly event in April. But then that week, you probably remember as well, it’s like things were just escalating every single day. Like every day was just getting, it was getting more and more serious. It was the news coming out from Italy. And just people were growing more and more concerned. And on the 11th that’s when it was declared a global pandemic. And it just became really evident that it wouldn’t be right to have this event. And it was a really interesting time to kind of make that decision because it was still kind of in a gray area. Like there was no guidelines of events of that size to be cancelled. That was still, you know, like huge conferences that were being cancelled where there was like tens of thousands of people travelling from different parts of the world. There weren’t any guidelines about local events where you know, it’s around like 350 people or so. But what kind of triggered that decision for me was the fact that this event was supposed to be a celebration. And it was supposed to be this like, happy sort of, you know, light humorous thing where we were looking at, you know, failure and learning from it, but also celebrating this community. And I just realized that it wouldn’t have felt right. It wouldn’t have been the celebration that we planned. So that’s kind of what triggered me to kind of start moving forward with postponing it. So made that decision. It was very difficult. They communicated it to, to all the partners, to our team, to the speakers.
We took a pretty significant financial hit with it, because as you can imagine cancelling an event the day before, a lot of your costs are sunk already. So the catering order being the biggest one that was already partially prepared. There’s a lot of deliveries that went to the venue. That we’re kind of there already. They had to just come back and pick it up. One silver lining was that we were able to donate that entire catering order to a shelter. So I’m really proud of that just you know, being able to make a difference and provide that size of an order to a shelter when they really need it. So there was that. But as soon as I had like, made that decision on the 11th and communicated it, I think things just started escalating more and more like literally an hour later NBA season was suspended. Then it went viral that Tom Hanks got Coronavirus. Everybody was talking about that. And then on the 12th things just like kept evolving. Pretty much every company that you know, my team works at or some of my friends work at all announced work from home policies. And it just became so evident that without a shadow of a doubt that was the right decision to postpone that event.
Karen Swyszcz 26:50
And like with so many other companies, you were able to like quickly adapt and quickly pivot. Like I saw that Fuckup Nights is doing like Instagram Live. And then you’ve also created a virtual Fuckup Wall, which is pretty cool and that more people can share the failure.
Marsha Druker 27:07
Yeah, it’s I mean, you, you definitely have to adapt to the times. I will say though, like so we thought about the three year anniversary event that was on March 12. And then the next thing that we did, I believe, was on April 9, I didn’t rush into announcing anything or you know, planning anything for the first couple of weeks because I honestly, you know, in the moment, like, I made that decision and like, everything was so crazy. But then the recovery from it was really tough, you know, from the financial perspective, but then more so I think emotionally just, you know, having to kind of go through this thing where everything just happens so quickly and we had this like milestone in mind, and you know, we just had to cancel it. It was really tough.
So I just, I had to take some time to myself to kind of almost like grieve it and to heal from it and kind of get to a place where I was ready to, to do something else for the community and to kind of put stuff out there again, and again. Feel like I was in a healthy place to do that. So yeah, we started doing weekly Instagram Lives and bringing back past speakers and special guests with past speakers. We’re having them share their fuckup again but in a more sort of casual way. And then we’re also getting an update on what their business is up to now how they’re kind of dealing with the current times. And then last night it was 4/20. So we had a really special event with Bruce Linton who’s the former CEO of Canopy Growth. So this was in our calendar for a while. This was also supposed to be a live event at Shopify, but that one was really natural to kind of pivot to a virtual fireside chat. And that was extremely well received. So I’m really looking forward to doing more things like that.
And then with the fuckup wall, for anybody who’s been to our events, that’s probably one of like, the most popular activations that we do. People absolutely love it and what it is basically this wall where people can come up and write down their fuckup anonymously on a colorful post-it and stick it up there. And there’s a lot of people who you know, maybe they’re too shy to go up on stage and share their fuckup in that way, but it’s so much easier to just write it down on a post-it and stick it up there anonymously, or just kind of, you know, take a look at the wall and kind of read some of the other fuckups that are there. It’s super fascinating. So that was a really natural thing to pivot on to Instagram. It’s like this thing was like practically made for it. And so you can follow it @fuckupwall and you can dm your fuckup to us. If you have a post-it note at home you can just write it down or if you don’t have post-its, the post-it. There’s a post-it app where you can virtually create a post-it and pick your colour and pick the writing style and you could submit it to us that way. So either DM it to us on Instagram or if you really want to keep your identity completely hidden. We have an anonymous option on fuckupwall.com
Karen Swyszcz 29:50
Yeah, the Fuckup Wall is so cool and just for calling back to when I would attend events and just reading and in your mind thinking like okay, like I have this fuckup it’s like so big but reading other people’s fuck ups like it’s, I guess it’s kind of interesting to think like, sometimes like the things that you think are fuck ups, other people wouldn’t and then saying they may share a fuckup. And you think, Oh, really, that’s not bad. I’ve done that, or I’ve gone through that. So it’s just kind of interesting what people consider to be fuck ups.
Marsha Druker 30:18
It is super interesting. Yeah. And I think it’s like, when you look at that wall, it does kind of put things into perspective. And a lot of the time, there’s a lot of patterns and what we see up there, you know, like some of them, it doesn’t have to be something huge, like, there’s some that, you know, it’s like, I tried to do it all myself and I burnt out or, you know, I missed I doubted myself and I missed opportunity to work with really cool people. There’s things like that where it’s, you know, like, a lot of the time when people think of Fuckup Nights or they think of, of, you know, like, what a Fuckup is, they’re picturing something where it’s like, you know, I lost a million dollars or, you know, something really like of that scale, but it doesn’t have to be that. So with the wall there like there’s all kinds of things that are being written on there. There’s business fuckups, there’s people write about some relationship fuckups on there as well. There’s really like no shortage of themes and topics.
Karen Swyszcz 31:10
And with respect to staying at home and spending a lot of time staying at home, what have you been? What have you been doing? Like, do you have a morning routine? And what is it like?
Marsha Druker 31:19
So I actually I don’t have a set morning routine, something that’s really helped me during this time is to just kind of not fight my natural rhythm, I guess I would call it that because I’ve always sort of been a night owl. And I’ve always tried to fight and I’ve always tried to become a morning person and to force myself to get up early. Now that my schedule is so much more flexible, and you know, I can really like truly make my own schedule. I didn’t really fight it as much. So if I’m in the zone, and I want to stay up and work until two or 3 am I don’t fight that anymore. I just kind of let it happen and then I’ll get up a little bit later the next day. So what I try to kind of shape my routine as I try to schedule some kind of call. Like any of the meetings that I’m supposed to have like starting at around 10 am or something so I, you know, I have something that said on the calendar, I have that human connection or like touching base with someone. Mm-hmm. Um, and just kind of taking my day from there.
Karen Swyszcz 32:14
So you’ve recently launched a podcast called Create Community and what were your reasons for launching this podcast? Because I feel ever since COVID started, there’s been a huge surge of people like listening to podcasts, or people like creating podcasts. I’ve actually received quite a few requests now for people like to be on my podcast. So it’s kind of like one of those things that’s like exploding in addition to like online learning, working from home like one of those trends.
Marsha Druker 32:38
That’s so awesome to hear. Yeah, with this podcast. So actually, I’ve had this idea for a while now, I’d say maybe like a year. And the reason that I wanted to start it, and just to give a little bit of context to what it is, so it’s called Create Community. And the whole premise behind it is to talk to fellow community builders that I really admire and to really look at community from a human perspective because I think the word community and community building is sort of becoming this like buzzword and it’s becoming this like really popularized term. And a lot of people are kind of like they’re defining community as all kinds of things now, where people are kind of they’re either calling their email list the community, or the number of followers that they have their community. And I don’t think that’s what it’s about at all.
I think the community is about belonging, and it’s all about having that human connection and looking at the human side of it.
So I wanted to create something that would really explore that and a way for me to connect with other community builders that are you know, creating really cool communities. And to really like pick their brain understand how they actually became a community builder. People have such fascinating stories, like no one really sets out to become a community builder, you almost kind of fall into it. Like, like a lot of them that you know, it’s not like a field that you study or something like that.
So I found that really fascinating to kind of get the perspective there. And then just to get everybody’s definitions of what community means to them and just explore that human perspective of it. And then so I’ve pre- recorded a bunch of episodes before, all of this stuff happened. So I started working with it on it back in January and February, and my launch date was always March 31 st. So it ended up launching, like, a couple of weeks after we were all you know, at home in isolation. And I think it was actually the perfect time to launch it. And that community right now is more important than ever.
You know, I hate that term, social distancing. I wish they never called it that because it’s, we don’t have to be socially distant, we have to be physically distant, but you don’t need to be socially isolated. During this time it’s quite the opposite. I think to really get through this time and thrive through this time. You need that human connection and you need community more than ever. So yeah, I had all these like pre-recorded episodes with community builders, a lot of them chatting about in-person events and things like that, that are kind of you know, it’s not like you can kind of action on that stuff. right now. So I, what I started doing was doing a quarantine edition series as a special episode. And there’s two of them now, where I chatted with community builders and just people from different walks of life in different parts of the world, on how they’re maintaining their community through this crazy time. And it was super interesting to hear all these diverse perspectives and how people are sort of staying connected.
Karen Swyszcz 35:23
Yeah, that’s amazing. And as you were speaking, I was just thinking, you know, we’re so fortunate to be living during a time where we have like technologies such as Zoom, the internet, email and social media, and I can’t even imagine what it would be like to be going through the pandemic and to not be able to still connect with each other like if you just had to use the phone (laughs).
Yeah, can you imagine like, imagine if this happened then like, like 20 years ago or something or like before, though, when it was like dial-up internet? Oh my god, you had like a flip phone where you had like 10 texts a day like, I can’t even imagine. And that would have been brutal. Yeah. And like video chatting, it makes such a huge difference. Like I thought it was such a huge win when I um, like, showed my mom how to use the Facebook Messenger video chat like it’s so different, like compared to just talking to someone to actually like see them. And obviously, of course, it’s not the same thing as in person, but you still get a sense of like, you know, their expressions, how they’re feeling just their like body language, right?
Marsha Druker 36:23
Yeah. 100%. Yeah, I’m so grateful for that as well just for having the technology that we do. And then also just like not taking for granted that we you know, we’re in a place where we have access to this technology, there’s, you know, there’s people in other parts of the world or, or even in Canada, who, you know, aren’t fortunate enough to have that technology at their fingertips through this time. And that’s really heartbreaking to sort of think of that.
Karen Swyszcz 36:46
Mm-hmm. So if you could have anyone speak at a fuckup nights, who would you want to speak about their failures?
Marsha Druker 36:53
So I’m a huge fangirl of Tim Ferriss. That was the first like podcast that I think I really got into and I feel it was like really pivotal throughout my life and especially throughout, you know, my mid-20s and kind of making that decision to, to go live abroad and all of that fun stuff and actually pursue entrepreneurship myself. So that is without a doubt somebody that I would absolutely love to have on Fuckup Nights and just to hear some of his failures. I know there’s been a ton and he touches on some of them in some of his content. So that would be such a treat to have him on Fuckup Nights.
Karen Swyszcz 37:26
Yeah, for sure. And now that you put it out there into the world, hopefully, he’ll magically come across this podcast somehow. And yeah, hit you up. Like I’m a big believer in just like just saying things because really, I feel it’s one of those things you never know who’s listening or you never know who other people know and who they could connect you to.
Marsha Druker 37:46
Karen Swyszcz 37:47
Okay, so, who are some other entrepreneurs that you admire and why?
Marsha Druker 37:53
Such a good question. I feel like for me, it’s like, I’m like, I love entrepreneurs. I feel like I’ve always been really passionate about business and just following different entrepreneur’s journeys. So you know, there’s a lot of big names that I sort of follow. Like I love following the journey of Elon Musk, Richard Branson, you know, names like that. Sophia Amoruso is another one. I love what she’s built. But I think for me through Fuckup Nights, just, you know, meeting local entrepreneurs in Toronto, and just more people that are, you know, like, regular people who are, who are building something really cool and just, you know, pursuing their dreams and taking that risk and fucking up and moving on from it. Those are really the people that I admire, you know, they don’t need to have like this huge name behind them or some massive company that everybody knows. I’m really inspired by just everyday people who are kind of grinding away on their business and fucking up and learning from it.
Karen Swyszcz 38:48
Awesome. Actually, there’s this one question that I probably should have asked in the beginning, but I’ll ask you now because it ties into talking about who you admire. So like growing up, did you feel you had that like entrepreneurial like Pat, ah, I can’t talk today. Growing up, did you feel you had an entrepreneurial streak in you? Like, was anybody in your family an entrepreneur? Was it encouraged? Because you did go to Schulich for school.
Marsha Druker 39:13
Yeah, I think something that actually really shaped me. Well, a few things. So I grew up in Ukraine. So I came to Canada when I was eight with my parents. So I think that was part of it, you know, being an immigrant, although, you know, it was my parents that brought me here, but I had to adapt really quickly. At the age of eight, you know, I had to learn a new language, English was my second language and get kind of adapted to a new environment, and you know, grow up in a way where we were new immigrants in this country, and we definitely, you know, the first few years were a struggle, so I really liked it and have things handed to me.
And I think also growing up as an only child is something that shaped me as well. I feel like the expectation was always like really strong on me to succeed and what I was doing and so you know, kind of be somebody that my parents and my family could be really proud of. So I think I always had like a really high drive, maybe not necessarily entrepreneurial, but just like a high drive to succeed. And you know, to try a lot of things and to kind of reach my potential, I guess I would say. So I think it was a combination of those things. And then I would say my interest in entrepreneurship kind of started maybe, like, towards the end of university. I took on more leadership there. There was a club that I co-founded in university, so that was really cool. So I kind of got a taste of it there. And then, even like going out of school, I worked in a really typical sort of, you know, corporate role and in the corporate world, but I always kind of had that desire and I always kind of had this feeling deep down that there was something more that I could be doing, that I wasn’t reaching my full potential and I wasn’t, I wasn’t who I was supposed to be at that time if it makes sense. And that’s sort of what pushed me to like really changed my life around have them go experience living somewhere else and just kind of like completely shake myself out of my routine.
Karen Swyszcz 41:05
Alright, so my one final question before we sign off is if you could go back in time, what advice would you give to your previous self when you were just starting out Fuckup Nights?
Marsha Druker 41:15
Really good question. I would say that the advice that I would give myself is don’t try to do it all yourself. I would, I should have built the team a lot sooner. And they should have delegated a lot sooner. So it was something that happened over time. And you know, I’m super proud of my team now. But if I could give myself that advice, I would do it from day one, just to kind of like, spread that burden, I’ll have burnout. And I think it could have grown even faster from day one if I had more of a team.
Karen Swyszcz 41:45
Amazing. So thank you again, so much for chatting with me.
Marsha Druker 41:48
It was my pleasure. Thanks so much for having me.
Transcribed by https://otter.ai