Derek Sivers

Programmer, writer, entrepreneur, avid student of life. I make useful things, and share what I learn.

Presentations → Why You Need to Fail

The importance of failure - for effective learning, growth mindset, and quality through experimentation.

I was asked by Lakshmi Pratury of TED India - (now the InK Conference) - to do a talk about failure. She had recently moved from California to India, and felt that people in Asia are really averse to making any mistakes, because the culture there brands you as a failure if you make a mistake. (Whereas in California, they say one of the key reasons for its healthy innovaation and entrepreneurial culture is its embrace of failure, seeing it as a necessary badge of honor before eventual success.)

So I put together this talk, sharing what I had learned from some books and experience, on the subject of mistakes, deliberate practice, experimentation, and failure.

I did it live at the INK Conference in India, but there was a major hardware failure halfway through. It made for a great impromptu joke about failure, but a bad recording. So this is my “studio” version: