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Failure should be an option

11 May 2011 One Comment

Randy Sandy was a professional boxer back in the 50s. His career record was a very symmetrical 24-24-2.

If he worked in advertising, he’d be considered an expert.

Why?

Because we value experience over expertise. We value consistency over curiosity.

Just keep doing what you’re doing, don’t rock the boat and don’t stick your neck out. You will be rewarded with bonuses, promotions and features in Adweek and AdAge.

We have created a culture where failure is the worst thing that can happen. This is just flat out stupid.

Failure is a necessary by-product of innovation. Mistakes breed breakthroughs.

Mediocrity, on the other hand, breeds more mediocrity.

We need more Alex Boguskys, David Drogas and Sally Hogsheads. These people should not be the exception, but rather, the rule.

The only way I see this happening is if agencies start rewarding people for taking chances. Not with a pat on the back or a puff piece in the trades, but with cold, hard cash.

It’s time to start paying people to fail.

- TJ Bennett

One Comment »

  • Fabio Seidl said:

    Great one.

    I once met a man that has an inspiring motto, in which I still believe.

    “At least once a year, you should assume the risk of doing something that might cause your dismissal.”

    The only problem: this guy used to fire a lot of people, many times a year.

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