2019 | Velvet

Fuckupedia. The Fundamentals of Fucking Up

or how we proudly declared to the world that even we are only human.

To celebrate an anniversary with a photo book or with stories of fuckups?

When you’ve reached a milestone in your life celebrating the 15th birthday of a company born of your own sweat and blood, you obviously get an urge to record this wild ride for the benefit of future generations.  Let’s peek at the options we have. Create a book of cool party pics? Assemble some Greatest Hits collection of previous projects? Nah… Boring. Besides, who would really benefit from these photo books, there are no hidden lessons in wine-drinking-Saturdays.

How about you take an honest look in the mirror instead? Admit that every now and then you’ve royally fucked up? What if you gave yourself and everyone else a chance to learn from these mistakes? What if you encouraged everyone to love their mistakes? As the Auditor General of Estonia Alari Karis said already in 2016: “A constant fear of mistakes stifles creativity and innovation and leads to the pitfall of mediocrity.”

Handbook for all who want to learn from the masters of fucking up

No sooner said than done. Fuckupedia. The Fundamentals of Fucking Up was born. The formal concept draws inspiration from a plethora of important works such as The Foundations of Scientific Atheism (a Soviet university textbook from 1960s), the TV-series Friends (very popular, from 1990s), and from various Soviet handbooks. Fuckupedia is essentially a handbook which describes how the fuckup masters do what they do. This way everyone has a chance to learn from the masters (what they choose to learn, however, depends on themselves). The illustrations, inspired by the style of Soviet handbooks, make the learning curve even steeper.

We asked for commentary from the writer of said fuckups, Villu Arak. Villu remembers that his biggest headache was the overabundance of suitable material. Condensing the stories into an easily digestible form was a masterclass in separating the wheat from the chaff. The following question posed a different challenge: how to remain brutally honest yet treat the guest participants of the stories with delicacy and tact. Other than that, the colourful rendition of colourful stories was a fairly easy task, since the source material was powerful and every participant was a masterful storyteller.

The writer also remembers the deliciously satisfying toe cramps he got when underneath all the layers of dirt and grime and jokes and laughter he noticed the first glimpses of the agency’s true culture, shining back at him. He calls Fuckupedia a client filter. If you read it cover to cover and it warms your heart, you are a client worthy of Velvet. What else can we do but agree?

Results make us proud. This promises a future fall

Obviously, Fuckupedia was a complete and utter success. The first thousand copies vanished at the speed of light. We don’t measure success by circulation, however. A more accurate sign is pride in the fact that our belief in mistakes as a driving force is spreading.

We log on to Instragram and what do we see? The creative director of our competitor compliments our work – it made us pretty proud. We visit the opening of a new Innovation Centre of one of Estonia’s biggest banks, and hear a representative of Estonia’s angel investor’s club making an example of us: “If everyone treated their fuckups like this, the Estonian economy would be saved,” – which made us super proud. We receive a letter of motivation from a job applicant, who solemnly promises us glorious fuckups, just to get into Fuckupedia – and we literally couldn’t be any more proud.

Pride comes before the fall, as an old proverb likes to remind us.

Brilliant! Another fuckup approaches to teach us!

Quotes

“It is funny, bizarre, educating, itching and provoking. You read this book and afterwards you dare more. Not reading this book can only be a fuck up you cannot undo.”

Jamshid Alamuti, public speaker, transformer, education wizard, co-founder and CEO in an e-mail we forced him to write.

“A book that makes you think about your own fuckups.”

Ander Avila, creative director of DDB in Instagram (we received compliments from a competitor, yeah!).

“I’m not afraid of failures. Whenever I fuck up, it’ll surely be a glorious fuckup. Fuckupedia-entry-worthy.”

Anastassia Tšepaikina, an intern and an EKA graduate in her application letter longing to get her own story in Fuckupedia. 

“Reading about those fuckups I understood – I’m not alone out there. Best self-help book of 2019!”

Ivo Visak, our co-worker from Velvet in a weirdly emotional e-mail sent to all colleagues.