Mythbusting ‘Fail Fast’: How to Fail Better, Dare Greatly, and Learn Fast

Udacity - Intersect - Obi Felten - Fail Fast
X’s Obi Felten, on stage at Intersect 2018

Obi Felten’s rather remarkable job title is “Head Of Getting Moonshots Ready For Contact With The Real World, X, The Moonshot Factory.” In March of this year, she delivered a keynote address at our annual Intersect event. The title of her talk was “Daring Greatly: How to Fail Gracefully on the Way to Success.” In her speech, she addressed what she described as “one of those Silicon Valley cliches.” She was talking about the idea of failing fast. What she had to say about it was wonderful:

  “We don’t want to fail fast, but we do want to learn very fast.”

In a world where emerging innovators all over the world are seeking new paths to success on the strengths of their unique backgrounds, novel ideas, and deeply-felt passions, this is a critical distinction. What is important is not that we fail, but that we learn. When people are committing to making their dreams come true, and they’re finding inspiration in the entrepreneurial spirit of Silicon Valley, it’s vital that we be clear about failure’s relationship to success.

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Community, Connection, and Student Success at Intersect 2018

Student Success - Udacity - Intersect 2018

Intersect 2018 was many things, but above all else, it was a celebration of our extraordinary students. Shiza Shahid perhaps summed it up best, when she tweeted these words after leaving the stage to a standing ovation following her keynote speech:

“The best education I receive is from conversations with people living lives entirely different from my own. Thank you Udacity, for the opportunity to speak at Udacity Intersect with your inspirational learners! May we all embrace the intention of becoming lifelong learners.”

Every second of the conference shone a light on our students—not just what they’ve achieved so far, but also what they’re going to accomplish next. Every conversation, from the most informal to the most professional, was pregnant with a sense of potential. The energy running through the halls, across the stages, up and down the stairs, was transformative—people were literally alive to the experience of being together, and feeling one another’s strength, and conviction.

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Announcements from Intersect 2018

Announcements from Intersect 2018

As world-changing new technologies continue to emerge and develop, each with the potential to advance our world in ways we can hardly yet imagine, Udacity’s mission to deliver the best learning experience possible for every aspiring learner on the planet takes on a new depth of purpose, and a greater breadth of focus.

Announcements at Intersect 2018

When Udacity CEO Vish Makhijani took the Intersect 2018 stage to welcome attendees to the conference, he had exciting Udacity news to share. He highlighted new and expanded industry partnerships—and the creation of the KUKA Udacity Robot Learning Lab at KIT—that will enable our global robotics students to run their code on real robots in a real robotics lab. He introduced Udacity Universe, a large-scale simulated world where students can move beyond single-vehicle autonomy, and start exploring systems thinking, fleet management, and smart city planning. He presented the new School of AI, which offers a comprehensive learning experience covering everything from Python programming and algorithm fundamentals to computer vision and natural language processing specializations. And he announced the launch of a new WeChat Nanodegree Program where students can master the skills to build “mini-programs” on the WeChat platform. Tencent will provide 1 million RMB in scholarship funds for students in China who wish to take this program.

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Udacity Alumni VIP Event at The Google Garage

Scenes From The Alumni VIP Intersect 2018 Pre-Event at The Google Garage!

Sebastian Thrun addresses Udacity Alumni VIPs at The Google Garage
Sebastian Thrun addresses Udacity Alumni VIPs at The Google Garage

It’s 4:30 pm on a sunny Northern California afternoon. I’ve just arrived on the Google Campus, and as you might expect, it’s bustling with busses, share bikes, and pedestrians. In one grassy courtyard made especially beautiful by a playfully percolating fountain, white tent tops catch the sunlight as the shadow line slowly approaches. This is my destination.

4:45 pm

People are starting to congregate, and the low hum of conversation is subtly rising in volume. The individuals gathered are members of Udacity’s Alumni community, here to experience an incredible Alumni VIP event on the eve of Intersect 2018.

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The Road to Intersect: Trae Vassallo Talks Data and Social Good

Get yourself on The Road to Intersect, and purchase your ticket today!

Trae Vassallo - Udacity - The Road to Intersect - Data - Social Good

Trae Vassallo has a fascinating and diverse background—from engineer to entrepreneur to investor—and this affords her a unique perspective on what the future holds for innovative creators, and gives her the singular ability to see into all corners of the entrepreneurial ecosystem.

Today, Trae is Co-founder & Managing Director of, an early stage venture capital firm, and as such, she has the ability to directly impact what new ideas will reach the marketplace. Her company is expressly devoted to teams who desire to “defy the ordinary” and that are “focusing on big ideas, underserved markets, and hard challenges.”

Is it any wonder we’re so excited to have Trae as a distinguished speaker for Intersect 2018?

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The Road To Intersect: Aline Lerner Talks About Increasing Diversity In Tech

Get your Intersect 2018 tickets today, this event is almost sold out!

The Road to Intersect - Udacity - Aline Lerner

Udacity conferences, like so many aspects of the Udacity experience, are just a little bit … different. For example, all conferences have speakers, and we do as well—Intersect 2018 has an incredible speaker roster—but only at Udacity do the speakers get interviewed before the event, in a self-driving car!

Aline Lerner is the co-founder and CEO of, a hiring platform with a groundbreaking approach that is increasing diversity in tech through anonymized interviews. As recently described in Forbes, “the company matches qualified engineers with jobs at top tech companies including Facebook, Amazon, Uber and Airbnb by ditching resumes and offering live, technical interviews on its platform.”

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How to Make the Most of Udacity’s Hiring Partner Showcase at Intersect 2018

Purchase your Intersect 2018 tickets before they sell out!

Udacity - Intersect - 2018 - Hiring Partner Showcase

At Intersect 2018, you’re going to have the chance to meet face-to-face with representatives from 30 of our world-class hiring partners—companies like Amazon, Facebook, Google, IBM, NVIDIA, and more. This is an incredible career opportunity, and you’ll want to make the most of it. Our guide below, and the webinar we’re hosting on Wednesday, March 21st, are two great resources.

The key is preparation. Plan ahead, do your research, and have a strategy.

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