Fail Often, Fail Fast, Fail Cheap


I like companies that have a tolerance for failure.  Not that I like failure – just that I view it as the fastest and most effective way to experiment.  Rather than spend hour researching and doing focus groups-  just try it.  There is nothing like the validation of a paying customer.

This is not to say that I do not believe in doing any research.  One of our investments is in General Sentiment which is a market research company that uses the internet and natural language processing to read what people are saying about a product or company.  The beauty of research these days is it can be instant.  Rather than a focus group of 20 people, use the internet as an almost unlimited focus group.  Using a product like General Sentiment can dramatically increase the efficacy of the advertising spend.  But I digress…

One problem some companies have is they zap their people for any failure.  I try hard to not do this if the failure had logic.  Try things.

Fail often – obviously, try lots of things.  As you discover what is working, do more of it.  And what does not work gets cut and is not a failure, it is a learning of what does not work. More companies fail from not trying than fail from trying too many things (although I do recognize the power of focus too.  Alas, entrepreneurship is a trick balancing act)

Fail Fast – If something is failing- don’t be stupid, stop doing it.  In a ideal world we would always know when to cut our losses.  There is an appropriate balance between persistence and cutting quickly.

Fail Cheap.  No failure should be big enough to sink the company.  Set low budgets and stick to them.

Failure is a great way to experiment.  Failure allows us to innovate.

Good failure is one of many small failure, happens quickly and does not cost too much.  Fail Often, Fail Fast, Fail Cheap.

One of Canrock’s experiments through SEO Pledge is building web sites from scratch to see if they monetize.  One example of this is Howdoyouguides that has articles on such topics as how do you cure sore muscles and how do you stop smoking etc.  These are loosely based on our highly successful site Howtogetridofstuff which has articles like how to get rid of poison oak or Japanese Beetles through to how to get rid of tree stumps.

Another experiment SEO Pledge is doing is putting American Health Journal medical content videos like stages of cancer or what is a heart murmur (we now have the largest collection of these sorts of professional videos anywhere on the internet)up on youtube.

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