A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from September 29, 2014
“Fail fast, fail often” (business adage)

Failure is often encouraged in technological fields; lessons learned through failure can lead to success. Sayings such as “fail forward,” “fail better,” “fail early,” “fail cheap,” “fail fast” and “fail often” have been used. 

“Fail fast and fail often” is a frequent combination. “Burkhardt feels we should ‘be hopeful and skeptical,’ but we should ‘fail fast and fail often’” was cited in American Perspectives on the Fifth International Congress on Mathematical Education (ICME 5) (1985). “Colleagues of ours in the United Kingdom have a phrase they use to describe their attitude toward classroom innovation of this sort: ‘Fail fast and fail often!’” was cited in Thinking Through Mathematics: Fostering Inquiry and Communication in Mathematics Classrooms (1990).

Silicon Valley’s tech firms quickly adopted the “failure” mantra. “From people like Mohan Sawhney, the e-commerce guru at Northwestern University, they learn this lesson: ‘Fail early, fail fast and fail often!’” was cited in 2000. Many, however, believe that the “failure” philosophy is bunk. They argue that many companies must succeed quickly and don’t have the financial resources to “fail often.”


Google Books
American Perspectives on the Fifth International Congress on Mathematical Education (ICME 5)
Edited by Warren Page
Publisher: [Place of publication not identified] : Mathematical Association of America
1985
Pg. 101:
Both Davis and Burkhardt urge caution. Davis says, “Make haste slowly.” Burkhardt feels we should “be hopeful and skeptical,” but we should “fail fast and fail often.”

Google Books
Thinking Through Mathematics:
Fostering Inquiry and Communication in Mathematics Classrooms

By Edward A. Silver, Jeremy Kilpatrick, Beth Schlesinger and Dennie Wolf
New York, NY: College Entrance Examination Board
1990
Pg. 44:
Colleagues of ours in the United Kingdom have a phrase they use to describe their attitude toward classroom innovation of this sort: “Fail fast and fail often!”

Chicago (IL) Tribune
Executives Stand At E-ttention
Boot Camp Is Filled With Eager Business Recruits
Some Of Corporate America’s Largest Companies Have Embraced E-commerce, But Still Believe They Need To Be Whipped Into Shape To Further Exploit Internet Opportunities.

March 23, 2000|By Phat X. Chiem, Tribune Staff Writer.
(...)
That’s why the Round Table Group does its events, says co-founder Russ Rosenzweig, to discuss such topics as “Spinning Off a Dot-Com,” “Corporate Innovation and the Venture Marketplace” and “From Bricks to Clicks: The Matrix of Change.” From people like Mohan Sawhney, the e-commerce guru at Northwestern University, they learn this lesson: “Fail early, fail fast and fail often!”

Google Books
Information and Communication Technologies in Education:
The School of the Future:
IFIP TC3/WG3.1 International Conference on the Bookmark of the School of the Future, April 9-14, 2000, Viña del Mar, Chile

Edited by Harriet Taylor and Pieter Hogenbirk
Norwell, MA: Kluwer Academic Publishers
2001
Pg. 299:
The exploratory style, appropriate to innovate arenas, is summarised in a variety of different mantra, which include ‘fail forwards’; ‘ready, fire, aim’; and ‘fail fast, and fail often’.

OCLC WorldCat record
Design - Fail Fast
Author: Jim Shore
Publisher: [Los Alamitos, CA : IEEE Computer Society, c1984-
Edition/Format: Article Article : English
Publication: IEEE software. 21, no. 5, (2004): 21
Database: ArticleFirst
Other Databases: British Library Serials

OCLC WorldCat record
The winning spirit : 16 timeless principles that drive performance exellence
Author: Joe Montana; Tom Mitchell, Ph. D.
Publisher: New York : Random House, ©2005.
Edition/Format: Book : English : 1st ed
Contents:
Introduction / Joe Montana --
Introduction / Tom Mitchell --
Part 1: Individual Preparation --
Principle 1: Know what you want --
Principle 2: Love what you do --
Principle 3: Practice with a purpose --
Principle 4: Strive for excellence --
Principle 5: Find the confidence within --
Principle 6: Fail fast and move on—

CEO Blog—Time Leadership
Wednesday, August 16, 2006
posted by Jim Estill @ 9:57 PM
Fail Often, Fail Fast, Fail Cheap
(...)
I have been thinking lately about failure. Failure is a good thing. One of my favourite expressions is “Fail Often, Fail Fast, Fail Cheap”. We will not move forward if we do not try new things. New things that involve a bit of risk. The key is to minimize the risk while at the same time testing the business opportunity. And if the project or business opportunity is not likely to work out, shut it down quickly. Time can be the enemy to business. Expenses tend to tick on while companies wait to make decisions.

OCLC WorldCat
Jump Start - To develop a successful new business or product, go ahead and fail fast. Then you can start refining
Publisher: [New York, etc., McGraw-Hill]
Edition/Format: Article Article : English
Publication: Business week. 15, (2007): 40
Database: ArticleFirst

Twitter
Carrie Wilkerson
‏@CarrieWilkerson @mediastarr Fail Fast. Fail Often. Then Success is Inevitable!
11:46 PM - 24 Jul 2008

OCLC WorldCat record
Fail Fast, Fail Early: U.S. industry should follow The Skunk Works’® model and help rebuild the economy through innovation, not bailouts
Author: G C Orsak
Edition/Format: Article Article : English
Publication: DESIGN NEWS -HIGHLANDS RANCH CO- 64, no. 5, (2009): 26-26
Database:British Library Serials
Other Databases: ArticleFirst

Washington (DC) Post—ideas@innovations
Posted at 02:18 PM ET, 05/30/2012
The new #Fail: Fail fast, fail early and fail often
By Dominic Basulto
The future of innovation is in learning how to fail.

That may sound counter-intuitive, but if you look at several of the recent trends in innovation — everything from rapid prototyping to the common Internet practice of releasing products early in beta — they are all about making rapid, iterative adjustments that uncover tiny failures and then correcting them more quickly than one’s competitors. Small failures are okay, as long as they lead to future success.

Tech Cocktail DC
Angel Spotlight Series: Behind the Scenes with Glen Hellman
Aug 29, 2012 - Kira M. Newman for the DC Edition
(...)
Common advice that you disagree with
Hellman: Fail fast and fail often. That’s bullshit. Be fearless, move forward fast, and don’t let your failures hold you down. If you plan to fail, you will. It’s like that Yoda says, “Try? There is no try! There is only do or do not.”

OCLC WorldCat record
The Agile Startup : Quick and Dirty Lessons Every Entrepreneur Should Know.
Author: Jeff Scheinrock; Matt Richter-Sand
Publisher: Hoboken : Wiley, 2013.
Edition/Format: eBook : Document : English
Contents:
The Agile Startup: Quick and Dirty Lessons Every Entrepreneur Should Know; Copyright; Contents; Why You Should Read This Book; The Entrepreneur’s Life Cycle; Chapter 1: Agile Philosophy; Rule #1; What’s Your Why?; You Are Wrong; Heaven ... and Hell; You Get Only 15,000 Days; The Entrepreneurial Method; Focus on Problems, Not Solutions; Three Requirements for Success; Dreamers versus Doers; Get Out of the Building; Business Plans Are Worthless; Let Them Steal It; Embarrass Yourself; Fail Fast-and Often; ...

OCLC WorldCat record
Fail fast, fail often : how losing can help you win
Author: Ryan Babineaux; John D Krumboltz; Andrés Pabon; Recorded Books, LLC.; Gildan Media Corporation.
Publisher: Prince Frederick, MD : Recorded Books, [2013], 2014.
Series: Your coach in a box. 
Edition/Format:  Audiobook on CD : CD audio : English
Database: WorldCat
Summary:
Ryan Babineaux and John Krumboltz, psychologists, career counselors, and creators of the popular Stanford University course “Fail Fast, Fail Often,” have come to a compelling conclusion: happy and successful people tend to spend less time planning and more time acting. They get out into the world, try new things, and make mistakes, and in doing so, they benefit from unexpected experiences and opportunities. Drawing on the authors’ research in human development and innovation, this book shows readers how to allow their enthusiasm to guide them, to act boldly, and to leverage their strengths--even if they are terrified of failure.

Twitter
The Build Network
‏@TheBuildNetwork Calling BS on the “Fail Fast, Fail Often” #innovation mantra. http://ow.ly/nqODf
2:46 PM - 1 Aug 2013

Slate
Jan. 29 2014 5:48 PM
The Stunning Success of “Fail Better”
How Samuel Beckett became Silicon Valley’s life coach.

By Mark O’Connell
(...)
The words in question, inked in elaborately curlicued script up the length of Wawrinka’s inner left forearm, are these: “Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.”

The quotation is from Worstward Ho, a late, fragmentary prose piece that is one of the most tersely oblique things Beckett ever wrote.

Google Books
Startup Mixology:
Tech Cocktail’s Guide to Building, Growing, and Celebrating Startup Success

By Frank Gruber
Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
2014
Pg. 215:
Maxims such as fail fast, fail forward, and fail often have become gospel. Silicon Valley’s FailCon is an annual conference to learn from other entrepreneurs’ failures, and it also hosts informal FailChat meetups.

Google Books
Leading Digital:
Turning Technology Into Business Transformation

By George Westerman, Didier Bonnet and Andrew McAfee
Boston, MA: Harvard Business School Publishing
2014
Pg. 220:
The adage “Fail fast, fail cheap, fail often” is not new, but is very relevant to the business adoption of digi- tal technology. Of course, it’s not about encouraging failure. It’s about promoting a culture where teams can learn quickly and smartly.

The Guardian (UK)
Silicon Valley’s culture of failure … and ‘the walking dead’ it leaves behind
Though tech startups rely on origin myths and mantras like ‘Fail fast, fail often,’ the psychic toll of unrelenting failure simmers just beneath the exuberance

Rory Carroll in San Francisco
Saturday 28 June 2014 13.00 EDT
It is probably Silicon Valley’s most striking mantra: “Fail fast, fail often.” It is recited at technology conferences, pinned to company walls, bandied in conversation.

Failure is not only invoked but celebrated. Entrepreneurs give speeches detailing their misfires. Academics laud the virtue of making mistakes. FailCon, a conference about “embracing failure”, launched in San Francisco in 2009 and is now an annual event, with technology hubs in Barcelona, Tokyo, Porto Alegre and elsewhere hosting their own versions.

Forbes.com
Leadership 7/14/2014 @ 2:49PM
Why Silicon Valley’s ‘Fail Fast’ Mantra Is Just Hype
By Ron Asghar
What’s the chief mantra for Silicon Valley and the larger worlds of innovation and entrepreneurship? Some say it’s “Fail Fast, Fail Often.” Others say it’s “Fail Better.” And others say it’s “Fail Forward.”

Whichever nuance you choose, embracing failure makes for a trendy mythology, especially for the aspiring heroes of innovation. But it’s mostly lip service, while they scramble hysterically to avoid failure at all costs.

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityWork/Businesses • Monday, September 29, 2014 • Permalink