Failure and Fishcakes: An analogy

Jessica YungEntrepreneurshipLeave a Comment

‘There is smart & dumb failure. Failure is not desirable but acceptable, even necessary. No risk = no innovation.’ – Vinod Khosla

It is okay – even good – if you try a fishcake at a canteen you go to regularly and don’t like it. You are experimenting. Now you know you don’t like their fishcake.

It is less okay if, after trying it once and not liking it, you proceed to order the fishcake again. (This assumes that whether or not you enjoy eating it is the only relevant factor.) You’ve tried it before; you should’ve learned that it wasn’t nice and avoided it.

Of course, it is possible that you had a reason to believe that this time it’d be different, good faith perhaps – but it had better be one backed by evidence.

It is not okay, barring some crazy reason like there being no other source of food, to use most of your savings to buy a lifetime’s subscription to fishcakes without having tried a single one. You don’t know what your customers (in this case, you) think about the product, and you had the choice to test it out but didn’t take it.

Save yourself from misery. If you’re going to fail, be smart about it.

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