Learning from Failure

Date:   Friday , September 04, 2009

India’s maiden moon mission launched on October 22 last year was abruptly terminated, as the radio contact with the Chandrayaan-1 spacecraft was lost last month. A mission life of two years lasted only for ten months. However ISRO scientists claimed that the mission was a great success and 95 percent of its objectives were completed.

Government has set up an assessment committee to look into the performance of the mission in totality. But what is more important for the team of Chandrayaan is to learn from the failure and bounce back with full vigor with the already announced Chandrayaan –II.
As Murphy’s Law states “Things will go wrong in any given situation, if you give them a chance.” Or more commonly, “whatever can go wrong, will go wrong.”

In the Indian context, it is a great challenge for the team from an emotional and social point of view since somehow failure is not respected in our culture. The social stigma and pressure attached to failure poses the biggest challenge. This is perhaps one of the biggest stumbling blocks in building a Silicon Valley in India.

As Randy Komisar, Partner at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers says, “What distinguishes the Silicon Valley is not its successes, but the way in which it deals with failures. The Valley is about experimentation, innovation, and taking new risks. Only a small business that can deal with failure and still make money can exist in this environment. It is a model based on many, many failures and a few extraordinary successes.”

Whether in profession, project or business, failures are bound to happen. By learning to bounce through repetitive process of success and failure, you will develop a resilience that will lead to the true business confidence that will ultimately determine our success.

We at SiliconIndia always attempt to talk to entrepreneurs, business leaders, technology professionals across the ranks to understand some of the mistakes they did and their learning. We could all share and learn from each other and in turn will drive the economy.

Please do let us know what you think.

Pradeep Shankar
Managing Editor