The failure wall was part of our efforts to create a company culture where employees can take risks without fear of reprisal.
The above quote is from Jeff Stibel, the relentless entrepreneur who at 32 became one of the youngest public company CEOs in America. The failure wall Jeff created at his company's headquarters was designed to remind his employees how many failures there are for every success.
The concept is simple: employees add quotes about their past failures as they read through others on the wall. The quotes are both inspiring and funny:
After 7 years of practicing, I quit playing violin in high school to fit in. Lesson learned ' who cares what other people think.
My successful failure is working in online marketing when I came to LA to work in showbiz.
I thought it was spelled 'fale.'
Jeff is in love with failure, so much that he titled his HBR article, Why I Hire People Who Fail. His company culture does not just encourage risk taking, he says, they demand failure. After all, if you are not failing every now and then you're probably not advancing. Remember how many product flops Apple had? Jeff is trying to top that number exponentially.
Which brings us to our own relentless focus on building a culture where failing is encouraged. Our very own founder was recently interviewed on 5by5 where he mentioned the following:
When you enable people to fail and take risk and try things, what you find is that they're going to learn faster and their productivity increases. You can't be successful unless you allow your employees to fail and take those risks.
Truth be told, every one of us here has failed many times. Bryan himself talked about his biggest failure building a product that was not aligned with the company's mission during interview for Enter Silicon Valley. We are big proponents of sharing, celebrating and, of course, learning from our mistakes. After all, mistakes can be precursors to success.
If you want to hear more examples and thoughts on failures, do check out Bryan's complete interview on 5by5 below as well as the Enter Silicon Valley interview linked above.
We are curious to hear what some of your own personal failures are — feel free to summarize them in a short comment below.