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The Thrill of Failure

Josh, 29 October, 2012 0 Comments


I’m still thinking about Maggie Koerth-Baker, Science Editor at talk from the “Emerging Technology + Advertising 2012” conference. Maggie presented “The Thrill Of Failure” and I was deeply inspired by her words.

She discussed scientific failure over the last 100+ years and how it can be easily paralleled to business. From the electric car’s beginnings in New York City at the turn of the 20th century, the light bulb, and wind farms in North America, the message was clear: initial rate of failure far outweighs the rate of immediate success. Looking at all of these inventions and innovations, not one of them is a terrible idea. They never failed because they couldn’t work; many of their failures came from a lack of opportunity, understanding or faith in the product. They succeeded because of new vision, persistence, and an ability to see the bigger picture.

Persistence and perseverance are the key. Perfect your idea through testing, research, collaboration, and effort. Rarely are great ideas polished and perfected on the first try. I’m willing to bet that it took Colonel Sanders more than a single Sunday dinner to figure out the perfect blend of 11 herbs and spices. The odds are that your awesome idea is going to need some work too.

Here’s the thing: not every idea is a good one. Not every good idea succeeds on day 1.
The entire talk reminded me of a Japanese Proverb: Fall Down 7 Times, Get Up 8. There are a lot of sayings that get to the same point. The important thing to take away from it is that you have to keep trying. And the only sure fire way to determine that your idea never works, is to give up on it.

So, if you think you’ve come up with something great, get the team together, talk it out with the people you know, trust, and value, and get to work! It may not be easy but it’ll totally be worth it.

Good luck.

Keep being awesome!

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