The Failure, the Innovator, and the Filet-O-Fish

Would you rather solidify 2nd place, or risk everything you have for a chance at winning? In a perfect world we’d like have both as an option. But if it had to be one or the other, which would you choose? We are all faced with this question routinely. Whether it is at work, at the gym, at social functions, or in school, we are all constantly comparing and evaluating the risk of change with the safety and ease of stagnation.

Entrepreneurs and businesses are constantly searching for and creating the next BIG innovation to take the world by storm. They take chances, they risk losing everything. Some of the most well-known and successful companies in the world are backed by entrepreneurs and innovators who continuously push the boundaries within their industry.

What is the common thread that ties industry giants like, Ford, Honda, Microsoft, Macy’s, and McDonald’s Filet-O-Fish together?


Today, they all represent billion dollar successes, but not before their creators failed. Henry Ford went bankrupt after Detroit Automobile tanked. Soichiro Honda was rejected by Toyota when he went for a job interview. Bill Gates’ Traf-O-Data fizzled rapidly before he went on to start Microsoft. Macy’s tanked in their initial venture in Massachusetts, only to try again two years later in New York to become the behemoth it is today. And the Filet-O-Fish? Well, that happened only because McDonalds whiffed on the Hula Burger (pineapple, cheese, and bun…gross!)!

“You can fail 100 times as long as you succeed once” -Soichiro Honda

Failure should be promoted and welcomed within any company. If we as individuals are not taking chances and failing, how will we ever push the boundaries? When you’re done with this post, do yourself a favor and watch this video on Honda’s “Secret to Success”. It’s a raw and honest video of their company’s values.

Madison Mobley (@Build_A_Cloud), a mentor of mine once told me, “The faster you make 1,000 mistakes, the faster you’ll become successful as long as you learn from them.”

When was the last time you failed? When was the last time the company you represent failed? For me, I welcome risk and failure, I thrive on change. The company I represent is full of warm-welcomed innovators. It is not afraid to risk failure and to take chances, which I believe is why it has become the leader it is today.

So, are you ready to race?

7 thoughts on “The Failure, the Innovator, and the Filet-O-Fish

  1. I have always been taught, the difference between you (or me) and Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, David Koch, Mark Zuckerberg, Christy Walton (and on and on and on…) is that they have all been told “no” and “you can’t do that” more than you (and me). Every “no” is one step closer to a “yes”.


    Wow, so long ago was our conversation. Knowing myself, I am confident I simply advised you to make 1,000 mistakes as fast as you can. Though your articulation of my advice (particularly the success and learning bit) makes me sound even more thoughtful than I believe myself to be. #winning

    Oh- and if I might humbly add (being the pescatarian that I am), the Filet-O-Fish will soon be an endangered species thanks to the BK Big Fish if it fails to think fast enough.

    (Insert room for Innovation here?)

  3. Hi Dan,
    I love your approach. Here in Ireland, for the past 4 years, we have been going through the worst recession / depression in living memory. In our company, we have maintained a positive, winning attitude, even when reality was pointing the opposite direction. There is nothing wrong with failure as long as you learn from the mistakes. There is an old saying “The man who never made a mistake never made anything.”
    Keep it up.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s