My favorite TV show is, and has been for the last ten years, CBS Sunday Morning. This past Sunday, the cover story, reported by Mark
Strassmann, was all about failures and how failure, or in some cases, many failures,
did not deter some amazing people in business and in history. Perhaps you can
relate – I know I do.
The biggest takeaway of the story was quoted by professor
Henry Petroski of Duke University, who studies design failures. He said,
Successes teach us very little. A successful design
doesn’t tell us how close to failure it might be. Typically, the longer you go
without a failure, the more confident we become. But there’s then a seemingly
unavoidable temptation to then start cutting corners.
He went on to talk about bridge design, and used the
poorly designed Tacoma Narrows Bridge near my hometown, the bridge often
referred to as “Galloping Gertie” as an example.
The first hand-held PDA, called the Newton, made by
Apple, was a flop – but it paved the way for Apple’s later engineering
successes, as well as the groundwork for other successful PDAs. I remember,
because I was selling technology products back when the Newton debuted… and
then quickly went away.
The story went on to talk about popular author, John
Grisham – who’s first novel was rejected by twelve different publishers.
Vincent Van Gogh only sold one painting in his lifetime,
and Henry Ford went bankrupt five times.
Are you set back by some failure in selling or in running
your small business? Before it runs your year, or even your day – think about
these “failures” and read about the rest of the CBS story for even