Find Failure Fast

“If you want to increase your success rate, double your failure rate.” – Thomas J. Watson Sr, founder of IBM

“…fail faster so [you] can succeed sooner.” – David Kelley of IDEO

I’ve got any number of projects in the works at any given time (current count is north of 20). Last year, there was a different twenty. Some of the same, and I’ve found the sign of a good project is one that sticks with you for years. Some of the projects I started last year worked out extremely well (VINE360, MNteractive.com) others were obvious (in retrospect) failures.

Ultimately, my work is to capture and apply feedback to business strategy. Failure gives clear feedback – and it will persist until you listen. The usability evaluations and ethnographic studies I conduct are about listening for failure early. When it’s easiest to accommodate.

Failure will occur, whether you like it or not. As the earlier quotes illustrate, it’s better to find failure fast than procrastinate. For procrastinating failure only puts off success.

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