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16 Comments

Iteration is where the magic is, but why is no one telling you that?

I love turning boring old advice into my own world view.

Here is one: you don't need to fail 100x times to find 'that one' success.

I think people like to keep saying this to make them look good. They've had that one success because they've failed 100x times. Failing that many times must mean they are tough. They have apparently survived it. Bravo.

But really, when this is casually shouted out, the people who have shouted it haven't actually experienced that level of failure.

It's nonsense. Please stop paying attention. Please? Pretty please? It's hustle culture disguised as fake success.

Failure is a matter of perspective. What one person sees as failure, is an iteration to someone else.

Some say you need to fail 100 times to succeed. I say I’ve never failed, only learned, kept an open mind and iterated.

Sure, I've made mistakes. Don't do a job as good as I could have. Made poor judgement. Started and stopped projects.

That's not failure.

I take those experiences and iterate on them. Sometimes it takes me years. I keep an open mind. I keep my life situations in mind. Most importantly I learn from them and do my best to do better next time.

To fail is to give up. Don’t give up, iterate.

Iteration is where you really learn. It's where you grow. It's where you discover the things that no one else can be bothered to learn about.

Iteration is where the magic is, but why is no one telling you that?

Also worth watching: Failure doesn't exist

I also keep a log of these posts on my Indiependent blog.

  1. 8

    You only fail if you don’t learn.

  2. 7

    I live in Israel, wgat they call the startup nation. Here they love failure, put it on a pedestal and worship.
    I agree with iteration is key, but fail fast is also a good way to have the scars on your back

  3. 4

    Totally agree.

    Get something out there.

    Watch, listen and learn.

    Get closer to what your user's really want.

    1% improvements compound.

  4. 3

    "Iteration is where the magic is, but why is no one telling you that?"

    Because it sounds like work, and work doesn't sell unless it's one of those internships that Joshua Fluke covers.

    Seriously, great post! I think this further refines what we know to be true but have difficulty articulating because of fraud and persistent misconceptions. If working toward a specific goal, you hit a dead end and quit pursuing...that is failure. If working toward a goal and you make changes based on new information (i.e. Edison's light bulb) in continued pursuit...that is iteration. 💡

  5. 2

    failure is definitely real; it's just a tool, like anything else. some folks use it well while others just stop and stare. others, still, will pick it up, try it, hurt themselves, and never touch it again.

  6. 2

    Great post, great mindset.

    I used to meet several of other first-time entrepreneurs during the last 10 months, working in a cowork place.

    A lot of them are struggling with the logic thing of putting a website on the internet, even with a mailing list only for their launch/beta access.

    It's like they don't want to appear to the world before being perfect to look at.

    I remember doing the same 2 years ago. And putting any shitty mailing list online for what I'm working on for the first time was the click.

    A lot of them also plan for 3-6 month their project, take weeks to put something on the internet, invest ~5/10k into "MVPs"... Today I don't mind changing my initial value proposition if the problem I observed do not want it.

    Cheers !

  7. 2

    This is a cool way to look at it. A while ago I posted about all my failures, and even though I haven't written it as elegantly as yourself, the point is the same.

    All these things build and and give you a solid foundation of learning to carry on to your next mission.

  8. 2

    I really sympathized with "Failure is a matter of perspective." And was reminded.

  9. 1

    @rosiesherry Oh woman! This is brilliant! Ditto! Failure truly doesn't exist. Thanks for yet another mental thought echo! :D

  10. 1

    Beautiful. Nuff said.

  11. 1

    I agree and disagree. iteration is 100% critical. But failure can and does certainly happen. It's not the end of the world, but I think it's important to call it what it is.

    When you set an explicit goal and don't reach it, I would consider that a failure. It's doesn't mean you didn't get get some benefit along the way, but ultimately if you don't hit your target outcome in your target timeframe, I don't know why it should be framed in any other way.

    And while learning things along the way is important, when you make commitments to others - whether they be investors, employees, family members etc. - and don't fulfill those commitments, that's a failure. Those stakeholders will not likely be as understanding as you are about the learning process. Their primary concern is about results.

  12. 1

    Iteration can be a foreign concept to some. I think when I was much younger, I liked to view things based on speed and how fast I could complete something- I had a tendency to do essays last minute or cram. As I've gotten past that point, I've come to realize that doing a little at a time and building upon smaller foundations is the actual key to making something great and lasting.

    I always come back to the Aristotle quote: the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. In this case, we can look at it like the individual parts added up being easier to tackle and do, versus the whole picture which can be overwhelming to some.

  13. 1

    Great philosophy. I think that mindset is realistic, and is likely to be pretty productive. Enjoyed reading that!

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