Monday, November 4, 2013

Freedom to fail to fail?

I've been thinking about the phrase "freedom to fail" lately, so I thought that I'd read some varying views on the subject.

On the positive side, Zach Epstein (in the midst of a Google praisefest) said the following:

Google has proven time and time again that it’s not afraid to fail. While some of its big gambles have crashed and burned, others have grown to become core businesses for the Internet giant. It is impossible to innovate without taking risks, and the fact that Google is more successful than most of its rivals is directly related to its willingness to take chances.

However, Scott D. Anthony sounds a word of caution:

But that doesn’t excuse stupidity and sloppiness.

The best innovators approach uncertain problems thoughtfully.

After quoting from Vince Lombardi (who clearly had opinions on winning), Anthony continued:

You need to demand—and expect—success, but understand that success sometimes means deciding not to proceed with a project. If an innovator reaches that end point by smart and careful action, celebrate. If he or she reaches it any other way, well, fire away.

So can we celebrate the freedom to fail, or do we need to emphasize the freedom to fail to fail?
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