Failure is not an option...it is a requirement...to future success. Failure gets a bad rap. It is actually an important element of success. When I speak at conferences around the world I say "In America we don't use the word failure...we call it experience". You learn far more from failure than you do from success. And those lessons from failure are what prepares you for future success.
Angry Birds became an overnight success...after 51 failures. Thats right, Rovio produced 51 other games before hitting it big with Angry Birds. Can you name any of the 51 games Rovio produced before Angry Birds? I doubt it. No one remembers failures. And that is a good thing. It means your reputation is not irreparably harmed by failures.
Guitar Hero, the music game, was another overnight success that took 10 years to materialize. Harmonix produced nine other games before hitting it big with Guitar Hero. All the previous failures were required to get to the huge success.
WD40 is a popular lubricant with hundreds of uses. Do you know why it is called WD40? Because the first 39 formulations didn't work. The 40th one did and they called it WD40. The WD stands for Water Displacement.
Now I bet you can guess how Formula 409 got its name. Thats right, the first 408 formulations didn't work. In fact, lots of very successful products were the result of previous failures.
Post-It Notes are the result of a failed experiment by engineers at 3M to develop a new adhesive. It would stick to some surfaces but could be easily peeled off, or fall off with too much force. It was considered a failure until the 3M engineers thought of different possible uses. Super Glue was another product success born from a failed experiment.
Odeo was a startup focused on building a new podcasting product. They weren't having much success. One of the engineers was playing around with a side project to publish short messages to a small audience. That project became Twitter.
Can you think of other product success that came after initial failure? Or startup companies that succeeded after their first ideas failed? If so, leave a comment on the far right side of this blog.
Subscribe - To get an automatic feed of all future posts subscribe here, or to receive them via email go here and enter your email address in the box in the right column. You can also follow me on Twitter @dondodge and on Google+