Grind or fail ?

20th May 2015

Grind on or die trying

There’s a lot of talk about the benefits of failing early these days and whilst I appreciate that Silicon Valley was essentially built on failure e.g. you need to make a few cock-ups before you know what you are doing – I must admit to feeling a little queasy when I see some 20 something CEO – having spent many millions of shareholder funds – has thrown in the towel and expressed the sentiment that : “ I was just glad I failed early”. Sure-failing early doesn’t make you a bad person but did you need to fail after blowing such a load of cash. Maybe and little bit more planning and market testing might have helped.

To top things off its not really a very British sentiment is it. Where would we have been if Churchill had said ‘”I’m glad we failed early on the beaches of Dunkirk”? We might well have had a different looking Europe by now. If James Dyson had given up after failure number 5,125 – the world would be ruled by inferior vacuum cleaners. You may believe, like James Joyce, that mistakes are the portals to discovery but if you a going to withdraw from the race because something doesn’t work after a couple of goes you should never have asked for investment in the place.

My point is that with sufficient planning, research and management you should not ever reach the position of giving up because you discover your product has no market. Businesses, particularly early stage ones, need CEOs with the stomach to grind on interminably whatever the weather.

Failures in business happen all the time for a variety of reasons but I would rather be a grinder that a defeatist any day of the week