Fail: Often and Early

I have a friend who is opening a new business venture and when we saw each other recently I told her to fail often and early.  I’m not positive my message got across clearly.  I was not hoping the new business would fail, only that she should not be afraid to take a step.  In any direction, and then if it turns out to be the wrong one she can change course once she is moving.

It is like driving a car, especially the old pick-up I drive.  It is very hard to steer it when you are sitting still.  Once you start moving steering gets much easier.

I’m a pretty avid snowboarder, but it almost didn’t happen.   Back in the early 90s  I won a snowboard in a raffle and I drove to NC to try the thing out.  No lessons, and no YouTube back then so I just strapped it on and  tried to figure it out, on the bunny slope.  After a few hours of extreme frustration I was on the very precipice of quitting, for good.  My back was killing me, I was aching all over and I kept thinking  how nice it would be to just put on some skis and start having fun.  After a small break I told my self that I would at least take the thing to the top of the mountain one time, then I would quit.  If I was going to fail  at snowboarding I didn’t want to do it on the bunny slope.  Fail big I thought.  So I took it to the top.  And had some spectacular wipe outs, but I also put together a few turns.   To this day I have never put on a pair of skis since.  Snowboarding became my passion for years, and to think how close I was to abandoning it forever.

Like many people I sometimes struggle with decision-making.  There is just too much damn information and too many opportunities.    In Coley’s recent article on information resilience he shared his news feed page, and I noticed there were 17 different news sites he was monitoring.   It is easy to see how one could whittle away an entire day educating ones self. But at some point you have to stop preparing and start doing.

But what should I start?  A garden?  A new degree?  An entrepreneurial venture?  A foreign real estate purchase?

When I was having my heart surgery I suddenly wanted to become a heart surgeon.  When I hear an interviewer that I particularly like I want that job.

Well here is the answer:  It doesn’t matter.  Just start.  Move in any direction and it will be easier to steer.  Start something new.  Go to the top of the mountain.   Wipe out.    It will be OK.  Just do something.  The only wrong answer is no answer.

These days failure is even being incorporated into technology!

Processing power has increased exponentially while micro chip size has been decreasing.  Some computer transistors now measure less than 25 billionths of a meter.  That is F$%kn small!  just a few atoms across!  The challenge now is to keep getting faster and more energy-efficient.  But how?

The newest concept is failure.  If we stop demanding that they be so accurate they are  faster and use a fraction of the energy!  Just get them started in the right direction and then the errors can be corrected later.  The US military is investing heavily in this technology, and Intel’s head of circuit research says the technology is now ready for widespread use.

If Intel and the military are putting failure into their plan maybe you’d best do it too.

 Life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday  -Kahil Gibran

So get out there and start something.



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3 Responses to "Fail: Often and Early"

  1. CourtneyC says:

    Nice, Trey!

  2. Paul Norberg says:

    This was timely for me to read. Not that I lack starter power, I’ve been flagging in the sustain after some recent failures of some substantial nature. So, “Starting to continue” is what I’m after. Thank you for the boost. The naysayers, and setbacks, only embolden me.

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