TEDx Auckland – Failure is the Best Possible Outcome

Last October I was honored to present at TEDx Auckland. The topic I chose to talk about was one that was very important to me at the time and I intentionally wanted to be a little controversial in my presentation.

When I check my mail early this week I was very excited to see a beautifully packaged DVD courtesy of the Department of Doing containing my presentation. 

The first thing I wanted to do was put it online to share with all of you (download the video) or watch online.

I also published the presentation to Slide Share where I have had more than 1500 views.

If you attended the event you may also like to check out the TEDx Auckland 2009 Photo Book.

After I presented the session I was interviewed by idealog on the topic finding Success in Failure.

In the last 6 months I have been doing some more reading and thinking about the topics that I covered in the presentation.

My daughter Molly was born!

Wired magazine wrote a detailed article titled The Good Enough Revolution: When Cheap and Simple Is Just Fine.

This a fantastic article that tells in some more detail the back story of Pure Digital and Flip.

Incidentally this article also draws on Clayton Christensen 1997 book The Innovator's Dilemma and the concept of disruptive technologies.

The flip launched in New Zealand in November 2009.

Compact digital cameras caught up to the flip’s disruptive technology and I brought a Samsung PL150 for the convenience of having one compact device that can take good still photos and video with some cool additions like tracking auto focus and a tilt shift lens effect in video mode.

More recently I read linchpin by Seth Godin (videos). This book had a lasting affect on me.

To my astonishment Linchpin has a chapter on Prajna which draws on the Buddhist Commitment over Attachment concept that I centred my TED talk around.

There are some quotes in the book that really stand out.

work until you run out of time or money then ship

I applied the above to a project I built for Webstock in Feb where I gave myself one week to build an experience and cover the event. The results are at http://workit.co.nz

done is the engine of more. laugh at perfection... it's boring and keeps you from being done

This one also rings home for me as I used to gold plate everything I did. This slowed me down and the last 10% very rarely made a different in the end result.

I have learnt to work quicker and leave out the bits of a project that are too time consuming or I feel will contribute little to the overall outcome.

I want to stress that in all this I’m not encouraging you reward failure. A recent Harvard Business Review talks about the dangers of doing that. Instead I hope that by watching this presentation and reading this post you embrace failure in your own lives and think about times when you can switch from attachment to commitment. Let go of those things that no longer serve you.

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