F is the new A, which is tough for this A student…

I was fortunate enough to hear Tony Wagner speak at  the (co)lab summit this week (a great event by my Leadership Atlanta friends!) and he used a phrase that I hadn’t heard before. He was talking about how universities are embracing the “startup culture” and trying to foster innovation and creativity in their students.

He said that in some ways today “an F is the new A” (in terms of grades). Or in other words, you have to fail in order to really succeed.

The concept of failing fast, iterating and learning from your mistakes is something I’ve embraced for a long time. But I’ve embraced it since I’ve been successful (I don’t think it was a “thing” back in 1998 when I started my first company) and I’ve not really had to put it into action…until now.

Dragon Army is a true technology startup. We’re building mobile games and apps for people (not businesses). It’s going to take a lot of time and resources (and money) to do this, all on the hopes that we create something worthy of someone’s time to download. The market is incredibly saturated and fickle. I guess my point is, its going to be a huge challenge.

And personally I’m going to have to get used to the idea that not everything we do will be a hit. Or better said, I’ll have to get used to the idea that if one out of five things we make is successful, that’s a huge win. By my nature, I’m not someone that likes to do anything that isn’t successful. I’m willing to take chances, but I do so with the confidence that I’m going to figure it out.

It’s important with a startup like Dragon Army that we almost hope to fail, so we can learn and make the next thing better. If our first three apps are “ok”, we might not learn much. Good judgment comes from experience and experience comes from bad judgment.

I’m in the process of surrounding myself with A+ people so it will be interesting to see if we’re able to truly embrace failure. Time will tell.


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