Inventing The Future: Learning From The Epic Fail

By WGBH News


Oct. 28, 2011

angry birds

Before the company Rovio had a hit with "Angry Birds," it had a lot of failures. (bfishadow/Flickr)

BOSTON — If you’re going to get involved in a startup company, you can’t be risk-averse. A full 90 percent of startups fail, according to two innovation experts who were guests of “The Callie Crossley Show” on October 27,
However, failure isn’t a source of shame among technology innovators. It's “actually the opportunity for a new beginning,” said entrepreneur Cortland Johnson, a founder of web app developer Terrible Labs, “the end of one thing and the beginning of the next.”
Greg Gomer, a founding member and writer for Bostinnovation, agreed. “It’s the single [biggest] learning point that you will have for your company,” he said. “That’s where you learn a lot about yourself, you learn a lot about your company.”
In the fast-paced world of technology, mistakes and misfires are part of the process. 
“You want to throw out a product as fast as possible [and] see how people take to it,” Johnson said.
Once that product is out in the world, its creator has to “iterate,” Johnson said: “You learn whether or not it was creating value, and if it is, then you want to continue to explore that and expand upon that. But if it’s not, you’ve got to shift a little bit.”
If you're sufficiently nimble, you can hop right from the 90 percent to the 10. Gomer pointed to Rovio, the entertainment media company that created “Angry Birds.” Today, they’re at the top of the heap. But, Gomer said, “that company had failed 51 times before ‘Angry Birds.’”
Hear the whole conversation on “The Callie Crossley Show.”

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