Posted by: Dr Churchill | January 19, 2014

OS of failing – Don’t Think About It – Walk Run & Win

Please stop over thinking.
This is my cardinal rule.
Stop it now.

Stop it because over the years, I’ve found that somehow by disavowing your need to overthink and overdesign in order to have a fully formed Start Up Tech company for your Innovation to be near perfect so you can woo all the finance and resources needed as a StartUpper really kills your chances to succeed and it brings the ecosystem to work against you.

Instead when you iterate fast and bring out your product half formed, an empty wrapper, or smokeware. This is the kind of brain software that suddenly tips the balance of the Universe in your favour. And even if You Fail Fast and Fail Often in your journey towards your ultimate success — you’ll learn how Losing Can ultimately Help You Win.

But please don’t overthink it because analysis leads to paralysis and you don’t need to get MS over this project.

And then there’s that little something to notice about the successful Innovation Business leaders and generally Entrepreneurial Tech people everywhere. It is that the Great ones, act quickly, iterate many versions often of the same half formed product – not the plan – and run forward selling it at a blinding speed even if they may hit a wall and crash. Failing is their operating system.

Fail OS is real for me and all my students. Give it a go and see how it works.

But don’t overthink and please do not overanalyze: It is always that over-thinking your Life engagement with your Tech Innovation Business will lead you to the realization that the project you love could totally ruin your life.

And that is true because when one becomes engaged to a business StartUp, if that person is honest, she will also engage the striking, hopefully fleeting, realization that this project could quite possibly ruin her life. But that is exactly the point. You’ve got to give it all You’ve got — even if it kills you…

And there is a reason for imaging your failure as a small death too. ‘Le petite mort’ is after all an orgasmic experience and can serve you well in order to overcome your fears.

The founder will always imagine that her life will be over, as she walks up on the steps to her dream. Because the wooden fragile steps of the bridge that creak — simply to announce they’re steps — are scary. And you walking them, you are already triumphant, and by doing this, the idea of ruining it, is transformed into the small triumph of imagining one’s death if you plunge through the chasm. But You can’t stay ion the bridge and by not falling and dying, but instead staying cool in the face of the inactionable intelligence a mind will produce — You win. You win big by not believing the monkey mind full of the superstition that thinking this thing will play some small, useful role in keeping it from happening…

And that it does.

Here is where I want to sidetrack and share a story that illustrates this fully: It’s about a ceramics teacher who tried to get the most out of his students and thus tried a novel Art experiment with his class.

The teacher divided the students into two groups. Those sitting on the left side of the studio were to be graded solely on the quantity of their work, while those on the right, solely on the quality. The instructor informed the students in the quantity group that a simple rule would be applied to evaluate their grades: those who produced fifty pounds of pots would get an A, those who produced forty pounds a B, and so on.

For the quality group, the instructor told the students that he would assign a course grade based on the single best piece produced over the duration of the course. So if a student created a first-rate pot on day one of the course and did nothing else for the term, he would still get an A.

When the end of the quarter arrived and it came to grading time, the instructor made an interesting discovery: the students who created the best work, as judged by technical and artistic sophistication, were the quantity group. While they were busy producing pot after pot, they were experimenting, becoming more adept at working with the clay, and learning from the mistakes on each progressive piece.

In contrast, the students in the quality group carefully planned out each pot and tried to produce refined, flawless work, and so they only worked on a few pieces over the length of the course. Because of their limited practice, they showed little improvement.

This Art creation experiment points out two important principles: 1) Successful people take action as quickly as possible; and 2) they do many iterations of whatever they dream to achieve – even though they may perform badly.

So my advise to my Innovation Class and Tech Enterprise graduates at the world’s best Universities that offer me the chance to teach Innovation to their MBAs is that instead of trying to avoid making mistakes and carefully overthinking their StartUp companies — they should be trying many times over and not be fearfful of synthesizing and co-creating even though they may be prone to failing. Run ahead fearlessly, not attentive to the obstacles but to the dream. Focus on what You can create with little resources because You’ll find everything on the way. Treat your tech Innovation startup as an experiment ion plural versions of the same concept and see what works best but stop beautifying the same old thing. In my Innovation Classes worldwide, the successful company creators are the ones that actively seek opportunities where they can face the limits of their skills and knowledge so that they can learn quickly.

Because learning is a huge part of the game and the reason for being… in the game of Enterprise and wealth creation.

The Leaders of the pack fully understand that coming up short, underfunded, feeling afraid, and being overworked, and alone, or underprepared, is just another sign of being in the space for optimal growth and is all the more reason to press ahead.

In contrast, when unsuccessful people feel unprepared or afraid, they interpret it as a sign that it is time to stop, readdress their plans, question their motives, or spend more time preparing and planning.

The truly Successful people take action as quickly as possible, iterate often, and fail fst and frequently. They work it swiftly, even though they may perform badly.

Now I want to ask you some questions: When was the last time you accomplished something that you are really proud of? How did you feel in the time before you reached this accomplishment? Was it comfortable? Easy? Did you have to do things that pushed you beyond your abilities? Did you make mistakes and mess up? If you are like most people, you will probably find that the times in your life when you grew and accomplished the most are also the times when you made the most mistakes and blunders and had to overcome the greatest obstacles. You can simply achieve this by doing it half cooked and badly, and failing as fast as humanly possible without breaking your walking legs.

When you encounter accomplishments of successful people, whether an enthralling stage performance, a beautiful work of art, an innovative business, or an ingenious invention -— it can be easy to think that these accomplishments are the result of unusual brilliance and came into being perfectly formed.

But the truth is that most significant accomplishments arise out of hundreds of mistakes and failures.
Failing quickly in order to learn fast, is what Silicon Valley entrepreneurs commonly call ”failing forward” and it is at the heart of most tech and innovative businesses in the valley.

The idea is to push ahead with a product as soon as possible to gather feedback and learn about opportunities and constraints so that you can take the next step.

This mind-set is at the heart of the brilliant work of Pixar Animation Studios. When Ed Catmull, the cofounder and president of Pixar, describes Pixar’s creative work, he says it involves a process of going from “suck” to “non-suck.” The moviemaking process begins with rough story boards where a few good ideas are buried amid tons of half-baked concepts and outright stinkers. The animation team then works its way through thousands of corrections and revisions before they arrive at a final cut. By giving themselves permission to fail again and again, animators weed out the bad ideas as quickly as possible and get to the place where real work can occur.

My strategy has always been: Be wrong as fast as we can. Which basically means, we’re gonna screw up, let’s just admit that. Let’s not be afraid of that. But let’s do it as fast as we can so we can get to the answer. You can’t get to adulthood before you go through puberty. I won’t get it right the first time, but I will get it wrong really soon, really quickly, and this will lead me to a place of righteousness…

Giving yourself permission to make a mess of things is particularly important if you do any sort of creative work. We should always remember that all people are creative in myriads of different ways; which is to say that they live in the real world, where they form ideas, come up with solutions to problems, have dreams, and forge their own path, because deep down in the heart, we all know that our own life is our ultimate creation.

It is only by sitting down and stringing together some words that describe your dream work and then draft a business plan that you might come close to being right even though when the tire meets the road — you might ditch the car.


So get down and write up your fvckin’ awesome dream and let it fly out of the closed box of your mind into the ether…

Once your dream is free and out there flying into the noosphere — only then you can visualize and create your success story.

It is the pivotal moment that you win your freedom to create in seven days what undoubtedly took the intelligent creators many iterations to get to the world.

So follow my lead and do this and win or fail in the end it doesn’t matter so long as you are in the race.
Do this despite not knowing where your Innovation business will go because that puts you into the place where the SUCCESS story can begin to unfold.

This expresses an idea that is central to the Fail Fast approach: You can’t know what something is like, how you will feel about it, or what will result from it until you actually start her up, follow through iterating quickly, and lead forward in the fog, until the sun breaks through and you can clearly see the path where you are going to follow.

This is what I call to walk run & win.

In the event that you want to attend any of my weekend Innovation Master Class Bootcamps this year at either Harvard and Stanford, or MIT and UW, in the US; or at ESCP and IESE, in Europe; and Tsinghua Uni in China; please email me for the US Master Classes or just go to Facebook to find the event page for the European ones, and register where appropriate:

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