The Psychological Reason Why Being Open To Failure Often Leads To Success

Scott Galloway, professor of marketing at the NYU Stern School of Business and the author of “The Four: The Hidden DNA of Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google,” shows how some of the biggest successes in tech have also had major public failures. He explains why failure is an important aspect of success. Following is a transcript of the video.

Scott Galloway: So there’s a famous chart that shows — it says, what people think success is and it has a straight upward line and then what success really is, and it’s a jagged, multi-art adventure. And that is accurate.

Scott Galloway, professor of marketing NYU Stern and the author of “The Four: The Hidden DNA of Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google.”

If you are not in your own professional life and your professional career kind of wiping out and getting beaned in the face every once in a while, you aren’t trying hard enough. And these companies are great at failure.

They’re fantastic at taking big risk. Putting metrics on them and just as importantly pulling the plug and performing infanticide on projects that aren’t working and then moving on to the next thing. Whether it was auctions or the phone with Amazon or Facebook and some of their targeting, all of these companies have had huge missteps, but it just doesn’t matter because they on average win.

They have a great batting average. And as Jeff Bezos said, they’ll take a risk, a one-in-10 risk if they think it can pay off 100 times.

That isn’t the way traditional companies think. Old-economy companies typically won’t green-light anything unless it has more than a 50% chance of winning, and then even worse than that, after it’s launched, and it’s become the pet project of people at the top, everyone else enters into consensual hallucination with the CEO that this thing is working and sometimes let this kind of gross, ugly child live longer than it should.

So, one, these companies are more disciplined about taking more risk, but they’re also more disciplined about pulling the plug on these things.


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