July 10, 2011

Failure is an option!

Google is releasing Google+, a new social media tool. As many like to point out, this is on the heals of several recent failures with Wave and Buzz and (if they are aware) a slew of other efforts attempted and failed over the year. We are inclined to think that failure is indicative of future failure, so the implication is that this too is likely to fail.

Seeing this attitude by the press and public saddens me. It says that we do not appreciate the value of failure. It reiterates an expectation for companies and individuals to always succeed or be assumed failures.

Innovations, which come at the cost of many failures, are stifled by this attitude. This attitude reinforces people's fear of failing, so they do not try. This attitude makes large companies afraid to experiment when experimentation is necessary for true innovation. This is why large companies buy innovative small companies rather than innovate in-house and risk failing.

Inside every success are many failures. Benjamin Franklin, Leonardo da Vinci, Thomas Edison all knew this. Any great scientist knows this. WD40 would have been WD1 in a world without failure.

Failures are what we should embrace. We should be applauding Google for taking such big risks and failing. This is commendable for a company their size. Google should be a model for other companies and individuals to take a chance to fail. By applauding and commending them, we encourage more failures, and ultimately, more future success.

1 comment:

  1. I have to say I am surprised at Google's recent announcement to sunset Google Labs. It goes against some of the praise of this post.