Failure IS an Option (And it’s a Good Option)

I hate failing.

I know I’m not alone in this.   Plenty of us have been frozen with fear to that point that we won’t try something because we just might fail.

(Remember the first time you stepped out on the edge of the diving board and looked down? Or have you not made it to the edge of the pool yet?)

If we enjoyed failing there wouldn’t be cliched quotes like this one from Robert Schuller:

“What would you do if you knew you could not fail?”

Why do I, and many others, hate failing?

  • It can be embarrassing.
  • Failing can hurt. (Especially when that first jump off the diving board is a belly flop.)
  • Sometimes we even get in a lot of trouble because of failure.

But then there are some people who embrace failure and mistakes for what they really are:

Learning opportunities.

I’m interested in design failures on the Web.  What happened?  Why?

Unfortunately, it’s not something that is often shared.  Instead, we like to look at successful folks and try to figure out why they have been so successful:

  • How is it that Twitter is so popular?
  • How did Google become a verb?  There were plenty of other search engines out there.  Does anyone else miss HotBot?  Why did it eventually fail?
  • Why can’t I live without my iPhone?  Why will I never go back to BlackBerry?

And then once we think we’ve figured out why these groups have been successful, we try to copy them!  But oftentimes that approach leads to failure…

I think we have to fail. Failing is good.

Every time we fail, we fail forward.  We get a little better.  We get a little more innovative.  We learn.

And that’s what this is blog is about:

Learning how we can create engaging, memorable web products and experiences by bravely sharing our tragic and sometimes comedic failures.  From the benign to the really, really big ones, let’s share the failures that have propelled us forward.

One thought on “Failure IS an Option (And it’s a Good Option)

  1. It is important to create an environment that allows us to learn from failures. The risk of “big trouble” for failure can smother the learning opportunity.

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