Fail Quickly

This is the tenth post in the series 12 Days of Ideas: Building & Marketing Web Products.
Illustrated by Krista Seidl

Much ink has been spilled on the topic of failure this year, and I can’t get enough.

Failure is scary, inevitable, and endlessly instructive. I’d rather succeed, but I learn more from my mistakes. All the attention currently being paid to this subject helps me squash the fear of failing. I need to embrace it, expect it, even plan for it.

“I think we need failure to keep us adhered to our proper path.”
— Brad Smith, The Great Discontent

“Pixar’s in-house theory is: Be wrong as fast as you can. Mistakes are an inevitable part of the creative process, so get right down to it and start making them.”
— Hugo Lindgren, Be Wrong as Fast as You Can

I love that idea. Start making mistakes immediately. It must become okay to be wrong in our work; ideally you’re surrounded by people who expect it.

“Give people opportunities, cultivate talent, and let people fail while still supporting them. It’s the only way you learn… But people need to be allowed to do that to learn.”
— Gmunk, The Great Discontent

Too often I’ve gnashed my teeth worrying about producing something that might fail. It’s refreshing to think about anticipating and learning from failing, to work without the fear of having chosen the wrong idea, the doomed path. If we can get down those paths quickly and with a little help from our friends, we’ll be on to better things. As one of my favorite pastors writing today puts it:

“Putting one foot ahead of the other is the best way to survive disillusionment, because the real danger is not the territory itself but getting stuck in it.”
— Barbara Brown Taylor, The Preaching Life

Substitute ‘failure’ for ‘disillusionment’, and the idea is the same. Keep working, fail quickly, and move on.


Author: Drew

Husband & Dad x3. Designer on the www. Donut + doughnut hound. Amateur gardener. Cat wrangler. Writing when I can, reading when I can't.

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