Why I Celebrate People Who've Made Mistakes

 I try and learn also from other people's mistakes by just watching and talking to them.

I think the best lessons are learned from things that didn't go right because you tend to be able to move on from them.  You think about it.  I've made ton of mistakes across my career.  I'm naturally suspicious of people who claim that they never made any mistakes. 


I think of the example of venture capital.  So let's say I'm a venture capitalist.  I make ten investments.  One of them ends up being Facebook, let's say, incredible home run. But let's say it's maybe just a ten times win.  Maybe a second and third triple your money, but the other seven are going to be write-offs.

But yet the human beings who are in those companies likely have gone onto another startup and another after that and learned a lot and certainly in heavy venture communities, let’s say like the Valley, Silicon Valley, there isn't a stigma associated with trying and failing.  In fact, it's often a badge of pride that I've done the following different startups.  It's the idea that didn't take traction.  The people might have been perfectly good.

Now what happens when those people get inside companies?  Suddenly this thought that well sometimes things just don't fly is absolutely verboten, right.  You have to be a 1,000 hitter.  You have to go 10 for 10 every single time and that's not realistic and that leads to really bad results. 

So I've tried at various times managing teams to celebrate people who made mistakes.  I've called them out not to embarrass them, but to say actually you know what, business involves taking risks.  If you were a major league hitter and you could hit four times out of every ten at bats you'd be Ted Williams.  That's an incredible batting average.  So why don't we celebrate the six times you swung and hit a long fly ball out, but it got caught, but you learned something from that? 

And I've tried to do that.  I try and learn from my own mistakes.  I try and learn also from other people's mistakes by just watching and talking to them.

In Their Own Words is recorded in Big Think's studio.

Image courtesy of Shutterstock

LinkedIn meets Tinder in this mindful networking app

Swipe right to make the connections that could change your career.

Getty Images
Sponsored
Swipe right. Match. Meet over coffee or set up a call.

No, we aren't talking about Tinder. Introducing Shapr, a free app that helps people with synergistic professional goals and skill sets easily meet and collaborate.

Keep reading Show less

Douglas Rushkoff – It’s not the technology’s fault

It's up to us humans to re-humanize our world. An economy that prioritizes growth and profits over humanity has led to digital platforms that "strip the topsoil" of human behavior, whole industries, and the planet, giving less and less back. And only we can save us.

Think Again Podcasts
  • It's an all-hands-on-deck moment in the arc of civilization.
  • Everyone has a choice: Do you want to try to earn enough money to insulate yourself from the world you're creating— or do you want to make the world a place you don't have to insulate yourself from?
Keep reading Show less

Can the keto diet help treat depression? Here’s what the science says so far

A growing body of research shows promising signs that the keto diet might be able to improve mental health.

Photo: Public Domain
Mind & Brain
  • The keto diet is known to be an effective tool for weight loss, however its effects on mental health remain largely unclear.
  • Recent studies suggests that the keto diet might be an effective tool for treating depression, and clearing up so-called "brain fog," though scientists caution more research is necessary before it can be recommended as a treatment.
  • Any experiments with the keto diet are best done in conjunction with a doctor, considering some people face problems when transitioning to the low-carb diet.
Keep reading Show less

Why 'upgrading' humanity is a transhumanist myth

Upload your mind? Here's a reality check on the Singularity.

Videos
  • Though computer engineers claim to know what human consciousness is, many neuroscientists say that we're nowhere close to understanding what it is, or its source.
  • Scientists are currently trying to upload human minds to silicon chips, or re-create consciousness with algorithms, but this may be hubristic because we still know so little about what it means to be human.
  • Is transhumanism a journey forward or an escape from reality?
Keep reading Show less