Success, said Thomas Alva Edison, is 10% inspiration and 90% perspiration.
This week at MinistryNet 2011 in Bangkok is making me more aware of this axiom. Yesterday nearly 200 participants broke into workgroups of 5-8 people. Each group was tasked with working a specific problem from an innovation or collaboration angle. It’s not easy. I visited three groups and observed lots of starting, stopping, reframing, challenging and offering. It’s a healthy process that our organization desperately needs in order to stay near the cutting edges of social media ministry.
Janakan Arulkumarasan, CEO of Onoko, is here with us. His company writes Facebook apps. They keep the focus tight, only allowing 10 days from start to finish for a new app. Their philosophy: Just get it out there, then polish it later. Their teams create about 150 apps per year, only one of which might be popular and go to 30 or 4o million downloads. The other 149 are scrap.
This got me thinking. Am I willing to endure that rate of innovation failure in order to achieve success? I do it in some areas of my life, for instance, when I’m learning an 8-bar guitar solo. Picking out all the notes and getting the timing just right can require dozens of practice reps until it sounds right. But sometimes in ministry I naturally feel that if I’ve prayed about something and attempt to try it, God should make it work just right the first time. That’s flawed thinking. And bad theology.
What’s helped increase your tolerance for failure en route to success?