If You’re Not Making Mistakes, How Are You Learning?

Learning from Mistakes The stakes in the high tech sector are high. When you screw up on the Internet your mistakes hang around and haunt you forever.

The Regional SVP of Facebook Mike Haines spoke last Wednesday in Orlando to members of the American Marketing Association of Central Florida (AMA-CFL). Did you know that 1 million people a day join Facebook? But I’m not going to talk about Facebook…Mike said something that resonated with me and it was a great term that I have not heard in a while…and it was like hearing from an old friend. He said, “Fail Forward”.

People are afraid of failure. I say bring it on! Failure is often seen as a step backward but failing teaches us to be resilient. We have all heard the expression “What doesn’t kill you will make you stronger.” Usually when you hear that it is at a point when you don’t want to be reminded. Right? Later you know you are made of steel. When Thomas Edison invented the light bulb he tried over 2,000 times to get it to work. He said, “I never failed once. I invented the light bulb. It just happened to be a 2000-step process!” It’s about attitude. It’s about learning is a process.

And, when you work in the online space every day you know it is moving at the speed of light and you have to innovate or you WILL die online. The way that we differentiate our business is by innovating and creating new ideas, products, and ways of engaging people in real-time. Mike at Facebook said that they make mistakes…their members even set up groups to tell them about their mistakes. How many of you have joined a Facebook group to protest Facebook? However, they are glad to hear it so they can learn. The thing about failure and being willing to fail is it will make you stop and think. You think about the process and you “Fail Forward.” It’s more like one step back…two steps forward when you are in the virtual world.

Remember, the sooner we find out this idea doesn’t work; the sooner we can get onto one that might. And if this idea does work, hallelujah, we may have a new light bulb on our hands.

BTW, as Mario Andretti said, “If everything seems under control, you’re just not going fast enough.”

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