Tag Archives: business

Fail slower


Disclaimer: I feel a great philosophical affinity to the lean startup community, although I wouldn’t necessarily call myself a card-carrying member of the club.

I’ve explained in my previous post how despite an unfavorable expert opinion we decided to keep going with just❤liked. Your comments, which are as welcome as ever, have given me a little more time to think about whether there was some message in there for the greater lean startup community.

Let me just come out and say it: Yes, I am trying to coin a phrase. So as unfortunate as many misinterpretations of the meaning of “fail fast” may be, enter

fail slower…

The point of fail slower is that you should not fail too fast if it means that you miss out on an important swath of knowledge which has to do with learning what doesn’t work.  I am convinced that there is value in this kind of learning as well, and for first-timers like ourselves these insights are of critical importance. Something has to feed and inform the pivot (couldn’t resist) and it has to be learning-based.

I should clarify what I mean by learning here. Have you ever tried to learn how to program by reading a “Learn X Programming in 72 Hours”? If so, you should know that this stuff (1) is no fun and dry as hell, (2) doesn’t stay with you, and (3) has not given the world its best programmers. What I am trying to say is that someone telling you something is a different kind of learning from first hand experience, search, discovery, wrong turns, running into walls and tearing your hair out by the roots. And if it means you have to fail slower to tap this knowledge, I am fine with that.

PS: I know the situation would be a bit more complicated if you have investors footing the bill. I am not suggesting you learn this way at someone else’s expense.  Also I imagine that if you have investors to begin with, you’ve already had a chance to do this learning at some point in the past and you’ve done it well enough.