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You will fail

Dear Reader,

It has come out recently that while packing up to leave the White House, the previous administration’s  staffers left notes all over the place for incoming administration’s staffers stating “You will fail.” I am sure they meant this to be a subversive and demoralizing message meant to make sure that things did not get off to a good start. I’m not here to discuss what kind of people it takes to willfully wish other people fail and hope for the worst. I also have no idea if the messages were effective or not, that’s not the point here. 

The point I want to make about these notes is that they were absolutely right and on-point. Every person who received one of those messages did fail at some point, probably on that very day. Here’s the fun part, so did the people who wrote them. We are human, we all fail, it’s a fact of life. 

You will fail at some point today.

I will fail at some point today, for every value of today.

Whether it is missing a deadline, or not doing something you promised a friend you would do; at some point today, you will fail. I’m here to tell you that it’s ok, failing is how we learn.

In tech, some companies adopt the mantra of “fail fast” for that very reason. The faster we fail, the faster we can learn from that failure, and the faster we can learn what works.

It’s ok to try something new.

It’s ok to fail when you do.

It’s ok to get up and try again. 

You will fail. Own it. 

Until next time,
I <3 |<

Everybody fails

Dear Reader,
Dimaxan house at the Henry Ford museum

The picture on the right is the Dymaxian house on permanent display at The Henry Ford.

The Dymaxian house was invented to help solve two pressing problems.

  1. Affordable housing for GIs returning from WWII
  2. What to do with excess aircraft production capabilities now that WWII was over.

It is an interesting concept that failed miserably. Turns out, nobody wanted to live in a round house built out of aluminum and Plexiglas. Still as failures go, this one is spectacular in it’s scope and potential scale.

Who was the colossal failure that convince the Beechcraft Aircraft company to invest millions only to produce a total of two prototypes? None other than Buckminster “Bucky” Fuller.

We know Bucky because he later went on to invent the geodesic dome.

Everybody fails, everybody.

Until next time,
I <3 |<



It’s ok to fail, it’s not ok to not try

Dear Reader,

  • I tried to learn to play the Trumpet
  • I opened a hosting company whose selling point was ‘secure shared hosting’
  • I tried to learn to dance (NO! Pictures are not available)
  • I tried to re-package ‘ShareWare’ and sell it
  • I tried to learn to play the piano

I am not ashamed of any of these failures. I am proud that I pushed myself into new areas, even if it was only to find that I am not good in those areas.

Failure is not something to be ashamed of, never trying is.

Until next time
I <3 |<



Systems have to be fault tolerant

Dear Reader,

In scuba diving, you breath through a device called a regulator. Regulators are designed to fail “open”. If something goes wrong, it is better for a diver to have too much air than no air at all. The designers of the regulators acknowledge that at some point, the devices will fail, and try to minimize the damage done by failure.

The same thinking should go into our personal systems. I didn’t make resolutions this year, I setup systems. These systems have to take into account that ‘life happens’.  Resolutions fail hard, systems are fault tolerant.

Whether you are diving, coding, or living, build your systems to be fault tolerant.

Until next time,
I <3 |<

p.s. for more information on creating systems vs. setting goals, check out my post “Systems, Not Goals

Failing doesn’t bother me as much as failing to act

Dear reader,

“Failing doesn’t bother me as much as failing to act does.”
– Cal Evans

It’s not a unique thought, others have written about it as well. However, this simple thought was driven home to me recently.

I got a call one day in December from a good friend of mine. He started talking about an exciting opportunity he had and that he was considering myself or one other person to help him with it. I knew deep down inside that if I did it, it would push me way out of my comfort zone. I also knew that if I did it, the project would have had a much higher ROI for my friend because I was best suited to help him promote it. Foolishly however, I passed on the opportunity giving a lame excuse because I was just too afraid to act. I failed. I failed my friend but more importantly, I failed myself.

I passed on an opportunity when I could have simply stepped up and stepped out of my comfort zone. Yes, there is a possibility I could have failed miserably. However I will never know if I could have done the job or not. I don’t regret many actions in my life, I do regret a lot of my in-actions, like this one.

As I sit here in the new year and write this, it’s not to whine or complain about a missed opportunity. I’ve learned from my mistake and moved on. This blog post is just a reminder to myself to seize opportunities that push me out of my comfort zone. Yes, I will fail at some of them. However, I’d rather be known as the guy who failed than the guy who didn’t try.

Until Next Time,

I <3 |<