The faster you fail the quicker you learn

I saw this posted on Harry Stebbings linkedin –

I have invested in 170 companies.

The ones that win, have the fastest feedback loops.

They try lots, they fail fast, they learn faster.

The ones that lose, have long feedback loops. It takes months to know if something worked.

The faster you fail, the quicker you learn.

I thought it was a fantastic insight, but I think theres a nuance that should be highlighted.

I think we typically look at this issue from the perspective of ‘do more experiments’; ‘fail faster’; or ‘move fast and break things’ – but these statements can misguide us into believing experiments and failure are desired.

But I don’t think they are desired, they are simply an acceptable byproduct, we don’t want to intentionally and deliberately fair, we want to succeed. 

So what I like about Harry Stebbing statement is it alludes to a better way to phrase this that helps us manage the expectation of failure.

“The quicker you learn” – for me, this is the focal point… we want to LEARN Faster. We dont want to fail, we accept that failing is part of learning, and so in order to learn faster, we therefore need to fail better and fail faster. 

Failing faster isn’t our goal, learning, and by extension growing, faster is.

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