Steve Jobs is considered one of the most successful entrepreneurs of our times. He was involved in three ventures, Apple, Next and Pixar; of which two can be considered bonafide successes. Next was more of an acqui-hire and we really do not know if it would have been a hit, stand-alone.
But if we were to consider the other two enterprises; Pixar was eventually acquired by Disney making Steve Jobs the largest shareholders in Disney. Apple, well I do not think that I need to detail that out.
Pixar was one of the biggest bets which Steve Jobs made post Apple. For those who love to study pivoting, Pixar made the mother of all pivots going from being a high end computer maker to being a animated movie studio. The value that they were able to unlock through the pivot was extraordinary.
Roll back to 1994, all of the three ventures that I have mentioned above seemed to be on the verge of failure. Apple had not delivered a single hit in a long time (agreed Steve himself was not a part of the company). Pixar had successfully chewed through $50 Million and there was little to show expect for a Disney deal to distribute the movies it made, and it is said that Steve Jobs himself was looking to sell the venture. Next had faced failure upon failure and the entire tech world was certain that the latest operating system which the company had been developing was not going to be any match to Windows.
It was sheer perseverance which pulled these ventures out of the abyss that they had got themselves into. The patience to wait and see through the release of Toy Story in 1995 changed the fortunes of Pixar. Next was bought by Apple and Steve Jobs embarked on a slow an painful march towards revitalising Apple and putting out products that the consumers would love to use and admire.
I write about Steve Jobs because I have read plenty about him; although the same argument can be made for some of the biggest successes in business including Richard Branson, Thomas Edison, Sam Walton, Bill Marriott, and many more… More than anything else, it is pure perseverance that has resulted in these successes.
I feel creating a business is like preparing a dish whose recipe you do not know. So if you add a thought like “Fail Fast” to the mix what is going to be the likely outcome? The idea is to iterate with the absolute minimum ingredients to be able to realise whether a model works or not; ‘Fail Fast’ is by far the worst term coined to describe this. ‘Iterate fast and learn from failure’ should be the actual term that should be used.
Don’t put everything that you have at risk, the first time around.
Develop a business on the basis of firmly grounded insights.
Don’t give up if you fail. If you had to give up, might as well have not started in the first place.
It is not wrong to fall, it is wrong to not get up after the fall. It breaks the human spirit.