Ask Absurd Questions and Stop Fetishizing Failure

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There are two start-up trends that are sweeping Silicon Valley and beyond: one, says Tim Ferriss, needs to be redefined, and the other needs to be more widely activated. The first has gained so much popularity it has become a motto: “fail fast, fail forward”. Ferriss is concerned that we’re fetishizing failure as something harmless that only leads upwards, when in reality in some industries it can be quite deadly. The second is the practice of absurd questions. Billionaire investor Peter Thiel will look at a business plan and say to its creator: “Why can't you accomplish your ten-year plan in the next six months?” Asking seemingly crazy questions, and setting hypothetical limits (such as, “how would you hit your goal in the same time by working only 2 hours per week?”), forces divergent thinking and can prompt you to actually do what once seemed unthinkable. Tim Ferriss is the author of Tools of Titans: The Tactics, Routines, and Habits of Billionaires, Icons, and World-Class Performers

Transcript - So in Silicon Valley there's the fail fast fail forward the fetishizing of failure and it's become very trendy. I think it's extremely misleading and misinterpreted and misapplied in many cases. So whether you ask say Peter Thiel who views failure as always being a tragedy, there is no exception, it is not some aesthetic imperative or learning imperative necessarily. Or you talk to say Mark Andreessen, for instance, who I interviewed for the Tim Ferriss Show but also for Tools of Titans and he says, when I was getting started, I'm paraphrasing here but when I was getting started we didn't have a fancy word for it we just called it a fuck up. We didn't call it a pivot. I think that it would be better to say iterate fast and iterate forward. So there's no problem with getting say feedback on a minimally viable product or an earlier version of a product. So Reid Hoffman, another person I've interviewed, founder/cofounder of LinkedIn and the Oracle of Silicon Valley as he's referred it to even by a lot of the elite investors, for instance, in Silicon Valley, believes that you should effectively if you're not embarrassed by the first version of your product that you ship you're too late.

And it's true I think in software development and different types of user interfaces and so on, but it's not always true for say a book or other types of creative endeavors. So it's a case of being very specific in what you mean by failure and also making sure that what you/re transplanting from one area to another, if you are doing that, actually applies in your industry, in your trade, in your craft. But I certainly feel like doing your homework, coming out and maybe the Silicon Valley ethos should start looking to the military more to say I think it's David Hackworth, I think I'm getting that right, who said if you find yourself in a fair fight you didn't prepare properly or something along those lines. I mean it is entirely plausible and possible to come out and just smash your competition from second one of round one. And I think even if you do end up failing and then correcting course that's a good aspiration to have, not to come out really shoddy and handicapped from the get go expecting to pivot 27 times. Read Full Transcript Here: https://goo.gl/EtpI5H.

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