Failing Fast

In business school, one of my professors taught me something very important. He said that the difference between a winner and a loser… is that the loser hasn’t failed enough. Winning business owners, he says, seldom achieve success on the first try. I believe this to be true.

People always ask our founders how we manage innovation at Google. Newspapers and publications will print quotes and headlines like “top 10 things Google does to foster innovation”. The truth is, put quite simply: we have a very unique culture and DNA, one that has not existed before. To truly understand this, one has to actually live on the Google campus for some time.

One of the fundamental culture differences at Google is the level of trust most of the senior management team has in non-executive teams and employees. Google fails a lot! But we fail quickly. As long as the failure is not fatal (i.e. health related), if you do fail, fail fast. Fail with speed. Then at least you can learn from that mistake, and quickly move on to the next project. In technology and engineering, often times, code testing requires the failures, so that the break in the code chain can be found. In genetics, scientists breed honey bees, hoping for a mutation, which occurs once out of thousands of replications. In finding these mutations, they are able to determine the specific piece of the DNA that is attributing to the defect / positive mutation across generations of genetic replication.

In pickup, we fail a lot. Especially as beginners. Unlike technology, this type of failure is often personal in nature. Unlike Google, this failure is related to an individual, and there’s no product, brand or technology to hide behind. This makes that art of PU that much harder.  At the same time, I think it is important for artists to fail fast, and adapt. As Style would say in his new survivalist mantra, “ensure, adapt, overcome”.

I guess my point is, keep going. Keep DOING. If you feel like there’s a chance for failure, swing anyway. But don’t sit there, waiting for the winds of change to show up. You will miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.

fail

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