Two Types of Failure

So I read an article headline this morning asking, "Is Wallet Google's Next Failure?" The title suggests that, as an organization, Google keeps missing the mark AND that the author is enjoying their failures. This made me think for a second about corporate America and it's fear of failure and mistakes. If you think about it, there are really two types of failure out there with companies:??

  1. BIG Failure: This is where an organization puts all of its eggs in one basket, releases something, and has it blow up in their face.??
  2. Little Failure: This is where an organization has a lot of smaller programs not work out.
There is a big difference between these two ideas. The BIG failure is potentially??catastrophic. It means that the overriding strategy, related efforts, and major goals that likely ate up a lot of time and resources are not going to work out. A new direction is needed immediately. The little failure means that one idea didn't work and that there are likely other ideas behind it.

If Wallet ultimately fails, wouldn't that be a little failure for Google? Unlike an organization like Palm or Kodak, Google's failures seem to arise from trying many ideas out. Many, many ideas over the course of time. While I'm sure they don't want them all to fail, I'm sure they have a failure rate that is acceptable to them.

This leads to a bigger idea, if you want to innovate, failure is part of the game. Allowing many ideas to develop and fail allows you to see your mistakes, develop solutions, and come up with new ideas to try next time. If you're afraid of the little failure, aren't you just setting yourself up for the BIG failure???

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