Age of Failure

  

From failures of the ages, to the “Age of Failure”. According to no less an authority than the New York Times, it’s not just time to embrace failure, but embracing failure is a theme of our times – “Welcome to the Failure Age!“…

  • “For decades, entrepreneurs and digital gurus of various repute have referred to this era, in a breathlessness bordering on proselytizing, as the age of innovation. But Weird Stuff is a reminder of another, unexpected truth about innovation: It is, by necessity, inextricably linked with failure. The path to any success is lined with disasters. Most of the products that do make it out of the lab fail spectacularly once they hit the market. Even successful products will ultimately fail when a better idea comes along. (One of Schuetz’s most remarkable finds is a portable eight-track player.) And those lucky innovations that are truly triumphant, the ones that transform markets and industries, create widespread failure among their competition… An age of constant invention naturally begets one of constant failure… Our breakneck pace of innovation can be seen in stock-market volatility and other boardroom metrics, but it can also be measured in unemployment checks, in divorces and involuntary moves and in promising careers turned stagnant…”

The New York Times piece showcases a true temple to failure, “Weird Stuff” which is a “27,000-square-foot facility just down the block from Yahoo…A 21-person company that buys the office detritus that start-ups no longer want.” It riffles through the detritus of downfalls like portable 8-track players and disused partitions.

It also chronicles the human history of the “failure loop” which is becoming faster and faster in recent times. With every turn of the loop, new supplants old with life enhancing productivity and capability but also with displacing and painful disruption…

  • “Our breakneck pace of innovation can be seen in stock-market volatility and other boardroom metrics, but it can also be measured in unemployment checks, in divorces and involuntary moves and in promising careers turned stagnant. Every derelict product that makes its way into Weird Stuff exists as part of a massive ecosystem of human lives — of engineers and manufacturers; sales people and marketing departments; logistics planners and truck drivers — that has shared in this process of failure.”
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