The Architecture of Success is Failure

January 29, 2012 / Personal

The biggest lesson I had to learn was how to fail faster. Thats why when I left Xerox at five o’clock, I would go up the street to the nonprofit charity, helping homeless kids, and I would dial for donations at night. I had a goal every night of getting rejected thirty times. The more I increased my failure rate, the more success I had at Xerox.

— Robert Kiyosaki in The Education of Millionaires by Michael Ellsberg

I do a large amount of reading, and cannot remember the last time I read something so completely stunning. Not the fact that he failed 30 times, but that he went out with a goal of coming home with at least 30 failures.

I suppose the biggest successes are built, often on a mountain of failure. Before Microsoft, Bill Gates started a data company that went nowhere. Before Twitter Evan Williams, started a podcasting platform that was crushed by iTunes.

The concept of failing faster goes hand-in-hand with lean startup theory: fail fast, fail cheap, move on to the next idea.

It is 3 a.m. on a Thursday night (Friday morning I suppose), and I cant sleep. I keep coming up with new concepts.

So far, here is the plan.

I will try to test one new business concept every week.

If the concept passes a series of metrics, then it gets the green light to move onto the next phase. If it fails I tweak the campaign, or I restart the process.

Most of the testing just takes time, so it is easy to fit around my freelance projects.

I can hardly wait!