A Bet That Failure Pays Off Big
By Alynda Wheat

(FORTUNE Magazine) – The old saying "Success always occurs in private, and failure in full view" has never been truer since the launch of Failure magazine in mid-July. The Webzine's content is a tribute to unknowns (golfer Moe Norman), has-beens (the United States Football League and the Susan B. Anthony dollar), and winners who should have been losers. (Citing Charles the Hammer's victory in the Battle of Tours, Failure's editors call his strategy "the most monumental failure of the past two millenniums.")

While broadcasting failure may seem like cruel and unusual journalism, editor and CEO Jason Zasky, 30, insists that he minds his manners; Failure tries to put a positive spin on falling flat. "We don't critique. We don't judge people. We don't make failure a personal issue," he says.

At the moment, Failure is being cautious with its own business plan, establishing itself online before leaping to paper. (Zasky figures it's easier to get an interview subject to talk for a virtual story than to have his face plastered on the cover of a glossy with "Failure" dancing on his head.) Getting funding for the alternative publication was tricky. Zasky's partner, Kathleen Ervin, says the pair turned down venture capital to retain creative control of the site's content, settling on two private investors who poured in $100,000. So who are these philanthropists? Relatives? Friends? Zasky and Ervin? Not a chance. After all, what if it fails?

--Alynda Wheat