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You’ve certainly heard me say this many different ways.  Fail fast, fail small and fail often.  More recently: just start.  Almost a “Ready, Fire, Aim” approach, where firing (testing) lets you improve your aim (at a moving target!).

Once again Seth Godin has said it more eloquently than I could (damn you Seth Godin!!) in his post the other day.  Which is why I follow him and why you should too.

He sees “wrong” as “a cost on the way to being right.”

The amazing thing about the internet is how quickly you can change, experiment, test, fail, revise.  The little cartoon version of me on the home page changes (the message in the word balloon) all the time.  The words next to my video change.  The video you see is probably the fifth or sixth version of a home page video I’ve done.  And I’m working on the next one as I write this.

None of this because I have so much free time on my hands.  But because a change either doesn’t work or it stops working.

When I talk to business owners for the first time about testing and changing and always iterating see a sort of WTF expression come over them.  Like when my trainer said to me after an especially exhausting exercise, “Now this is something you can do at home on your off days, warm up with four or five sets of ten.”  WTF?!  Four or five sets!!  Yes dear Hamilton, four or five sets.  And yes dear reader, lots of testing.

A mentor of mine said a very wise thing to me after a campaign I worked very hard on failed.  He smiled and said “Well, there’s no such thing as an unsuccessful test.”  As long as you learn from it and take the next step.

If it helps to call your fails or mistakes “successful tests,” fine, just know they pave the way to success.