Skip to content

The joy of failure

Google Wave is dead. The best way to doom a product is to call it an “email killer”. Personally, I think it’s great that a large company like Google is willing to experiment, fail, and regroup. Sure, there’s a bit of a black eye associated with public failures (Nexus One, Notebook, Dodgeball). However, if a company (or person) is not failing big enough to warrant attention, chances are that their experimentation is too conservative. (I’d like to illustrate this point with Microsoft’s Kin failure, but that is an example of incompetence, not experimentation).

One Comment

  1. Google Wave in my opinion was an example of revolutionary change in an area that calls for evolutionary change. The fact that their statement says that some of Wave’s features will be incorporated into other products seems to bear out the view that there was (is) no call for a large scale overhaul of email, but an evolution (much like the various features of Gmail).
    Getting back to experimenting, failing and learning lessons. I believe that we can learn more from the failure of evolutionary change than revolutionary change. Revolution is far-out, disconnected change that is often self-containing in its ideas and ambition, whereas evolutionary change reflects back on current practice and assumptions.
    These kind of changes are more often carried out by the corporate giants such as 3M and GE, with revolutionary change mostly the dominion of start-ups (Google included).
    I think we should always try to keep a closer eye on and learn from the failures of those smaller evolutionary changes – which unfortunately are less noticed and news-worthy.

    Sunday, August 22, 2010 at 12:12 pm | Permalink