Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Fail Fast

The future is here. You no longer have time to adopt a "wait and see" attitude. Trying new things should still be high on your list, but only if you are ready to examine the results and react quickly. And by quickly, I mean within days; not months.

This goes against the "let it soak" approach business has taken toward the online space. Well... we were wrong. Or rather, there exists better approaches today. Adopting the Fail Fast methodology requires more effort up front. More planning. More analysis. More understanding of what you're doing. And what you expect to get in return.

It doesn't mean start small. But it also doesn't mean you have to go all-in. Size is only important if your upfront analysis indicates it might be. Yes, you can learn as you go, but you have to adapt as you go. Data puke gets in your way. Get rid of it. Focus on the goals and objectives you set forth at the start. Ignore everything else. You don't have time to spend chasing down interesting blips. Not yet, at least. First, you have to fail fast -- or hopefully succeed.

The era of learning and not doing is at and end. Welcome to 2010.


  1. So I shouldn't spent a month developing a business plan...because I don't really want to.

  2. Evo,
    Continuing to use analog approaches to a digital world is like using a pen to clean out your ear: not recommended. If you're what I'm tentatively calling for 2010 a Digital Entrepreneur, you are all about the value you create online - you reputation, authority,revenue depend on it.

    That inevitably means you fail sometimes - get used to it, learn from it, better still plan to learn from it, move on.

  3. drew7smith - I forget who said it, but they were right: spend the time developing a blog your market finds interesting instead.

  4. "Data puke" is now permanently in my vocabulary; thanks for that. :-)

    Does fail-fast really mean more planning? Yes more "setting up how to measure what 'improvement' is," but planning?

    Maybe "learning BY doing" instead of "learning without doing?"

  5. Planning is good, yes. I did spend months and months on my brick & mortar store, but for my online presence I went with a quick, small, template-driven site (one with items and a blog page for updates) to see what would happen. I'm now building a larger website and store based on what I learned as I went - both what to do, and NOT to do.

  6. Drew -- See my "more planning" part, not less. That doesn't mean you should -- or should not -- construct a classic business plan.

    Bob -- Spot on. Though I think those values will spill over to organizations and companies as much as they impact entrepreneurs.

    Jason -- Yes, but maybe not the classic planning. Learning AND doing at the same time is important.

    Shirley -- Scale is important. While it's not always the case, less risk often allows for less planning. Again, it's the classic planning of what I speak. "More" has little to do with quantity. It's all about quality.


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