Is Failing Fast the Best Option?

By Forrest Smith -

There is a concept out there, which I think I agree with, that says to fail fast, and fail often. Basically try ideas out quickly, and if it doesn’t look like it’s going to work out, then move onto the next thing. It sounds good, but I wonder how many good ideas could have been successful, but weren’t because the creator abandoned it before it had a chance.

I think for some people, the fail fast philosophy may just be a cover for the shiny object syndrome, where people continually move onto the next cool thing without fully developing whatever it was they were originally working on. I can see it providing a good excuse to jump from project to project.

Perhaps what is needed with all of this business philosophy is actual data to support claims.

I totally get playing the percentages, which is why I do like the basic premise of the fail fast, fail often approach, and maybe it’s just one of those things where there is a balance that needs to be attained between giving up to fast, and working on a project forever without it going anywhere.

I can see someone spending 12 months, trying out 12 different ideas and becoming successful with one of them. I can see someone spending 12 months fully developing an idea and becoming successful (I think in theory, the more you develop and explore a concept, the higher the chance that it will succeed). But I could also see the person developing the single project becoming successful after 6 months, at which point the fail fast approach would come out the loser.

Which is the better philosphy in the long run? Who knows — none of this seems like it’s actually tested. I think the point is, that the more I read business books, and listen to business podcasts, the more I think that it really just comes down to persistance, having a good product, and perhaps a bit of luck.