How do you succeed quickly? Fail faster!

Our new favorite motto around the office comes courtesy of one of our favorite entrepreneurs and (arguably) founder of a very important Web phenomenon, Mr. Jimmy Wales…


That’s what he told us. But who really wants to fail? I certainly wish I could go through life performing everything perfectly the first time. We all think our ideas are brilliant, of course, and we don’t want to be proven wrong. We want success. We strive for it and will go to the ends of the earth, and our financial means, sometimes dragging out the inevitable because our ego is too vested in the project to give up on it that easily and admit a defeat.

But the faster we fail, the sooner we can find success. Every failure – every glitch, hurdle and problem you encounter in executing the big ideas that you thought were destined for arrival – is progress. Have you ever spent a ridiculous amount of time, energy and even resources in pursuing something that flat out flopped? Why would you want to dedicate copious amounts of time, energy and money into something that’s not going to work? Wouldn’t you have rather failed faster, and realized that certain changes should have been made before the disaster is too far gone?

Each little “failure” you encounter along the way is a tweak and an improvement. Every time something doesn’t work, you learn what WILL work for the future, or at least eliminate another wrong option. Think about the projects that could have been salvaged had you failed faster.

I’ll give you an example of how we’ve been trying to speed up our failures. For several months we’ve been working on a Web site that connects local businesses with the consumers in their area by offering free products and services. Businesses benefit by creating more local awareness and putting their products or services in the hands of real customers, thereby creating new and lasting relationships with these consumers; and the public benefits by, well, getting free stuff! The failure: unfortunately, Groupon thought of it first. They put a similar idea out there first and have monopolized the market. The good news: It’s an idea with staying power!

What do we do from here? OK, so in a way we’ve failed; but we’ve failed the right way. We failed fast, and now we have time to regroup (no pun intended), use their successful business plan as a model, and highlight our own strengths and our differences from their company. We now know that the idea of linking companies and consumers by offering STUFF to people and MARKETING to businesses is a good one. We have a good model for what works, and we can shadow their footsteps with a plan that is completely ours. But they’ve done all the hard work for us.

Yes, we failed. But we failed quickly, without having to learn the hard way, and now we’re on schedule to get our Web site out this summer. We think Jimmy Wales would be pretty proud.

Speaking of failures, here’s a commercial that we pitched to the Pepsi Corporation, but we didn’t make the cut. We may have failed, but we created a pretty sweet piece for our portfolio. You can see all of the commercials we’ve made on our YouTube channel.

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