Generation Failure is here

It used to be that failure was a dirty word. In an era where product development/R&D took years and cost of entry was extremely high, there was no margin for error. Fail and you were fired. Very. Simple.

But as the globalization of technology has occurred, development cycles are days and weeks, not months and years. Ideas can be shared globally at the touch of a button. Feedback is instant.

Gen Z, the Connected Generation, iGen…whatever you want to call them — failure is not a fear but a right of passage. They have grown up in the era of self-casting – where every moment good or bad is available for consumption. They don’t worry about failing…they’ll just do better next time. Like a certain sports icon I know….

So combine the rise of the “living in beta” mindset of a generation of self-casters with the decrease in cycle times of products and we are poised for explosive growth.  We are just seeing the tip of this iceberg. The iPhone is only 8 years old. The iPad is 5 years old.  Smartphone penetration in the demo is upwards of 80%. This is the first generation of digital natives that have never known a screen they can’t tap, touch or swipe. Couple that with a “failure is fun” mindset and we are sitting on precipice of the technological revolution….tbh the next generation has already leapt. Why?

“my passion exceeds my fear”

Quite simply, they’re ready to change the world and believe they can…and will. What remains to be seen is whether large, established corporations can adapt or will they lose the talent to smaller companies and start-ups where failure is embraced and celebrated? Prepare yourself for the greatest wave of change since the industrial revolution.  No industry will be left untouched. Uber, AirBnB, Sling….we’re just getting started.

Takeaway: Fail fast, fail often, learn from your mistakes. There is no such thing as a final product.  Iteration is the new black. 

Originally posted to LinkedIn by Jeff Jenkins (CLAS ’99)


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