Epic failure is a big topic. The word has many layers of meaning, and evokes a range of responses from different individuals and groups, depending on their background, circumstances, ambitions, hopes and fears. This paper lays out the scope and boundaries of the topic, defining failure first in relation to its opposite, success. We then go on to explore some of the key characteristics of failure which might be expected to apply wherever it is encountered. Failure is not a unitary concept and some of the multiple dimensions are then outlined, before suggesting some broad ways in which we might tackle failure whenever we come across it.
At first sight failure and success are simple opposites. To fail is not to succeed, and success is the absence of failure. But closer examination reveals a complex relationship between these two concepts and they are not mere antonyms. Understanding how they relate together offers important insights into the nature of failure and how it should be approached. There are two important relationships to consider between failure and success. Firstly, failure starts where success ends, and it defines the limits of success. But secondly, success often follows failure, since it frequently occurs after other options have been tried and failed.
Have you ever failed so terribly that you didn’t want to get out of bed? Sometimes everything falls apart at the same time leaving you unsure of what to do next. But if you’re currently banging your head against the wall in frustration, just know that the famous failures on this list had some bumps in the road too. And if they could figure stuff out, turn their lives around, and go on to become some of the greatest successes in history, so can you.
Team Inspiring Life provides you with 5 cases of epic failure that teaches you to proceed further towards success.
5 epic failure leading to success.
1. Jeff Bezos
He may be the world’s richest man today, but Jeff Bezos has said that he’s also made “‘billions of dollars of failures.”’ Prior to building Amazon, he built a company called zShops, which eventually sparked the idea for Amazon Marketplace. But even at Amazon, he’s created countless failed products (remember the Fire phone?). However, Bezos’ believes in creating a culture at Amazon that embraces failure. He doesn’t believe in creating the same products as everyone else. And so being innovative has led to some failure.
Today, Jeff Bezos’ is worth $150 billion. Amazon continues to grow into an even bigger and more popular ecommerce website. It’s arguably the biggest online store in the world with AliBaba fighting for the top spot. In 2017, Amazon made $177.9 billion in revenue.
The moral of the story in this famous failure is that innovation will lead to failure. Anyone can create the same products their competitors create. However, to really gain a competitive edge on someone you need to put a different spin on existing products in the market. To be different enough to stand out in a crowded marketplace.
2. Walt Disney
You can’t think about Disney without thinking about the magic it brings into the world. But sometimes creating even the most magical things has its setbacks. Walt Disney was one of the world’s most famous failures. According to The Wisdom of Oz, when Disney was only 22 years old he was fired from his job at a newspaper by an editor who said he “lacked imagination and had no good ideas.”
After getting fired, he acquired Laugh-O-Gram, his first animation studio, which eventually went bankrupt. With only $40 in his pocket, he set out to Los Angeles only to realize that Hollywood didn’t have any animation studios. This eventually led to the creation of Mickey Mouse and the rest is history. Today, The Walt Disney Company is worth $95.79 billion and has won countless awards. Despite his death in 1966, Walt Disney’s legacy continues to live on.
This famous failure teaches us that despite the failures you experience in life, your creation can continue to be a roaring success long after you’re gone.
3. Sir James Dyson.
Sir James Dyson is one of the greatest inventors this generation. And as an inventor, he wanted to create a vacuum design that didn’t require bags, which was something no one even considered doing at the time. It took 5,126 vacuum designs until he finally created a vacuum that worked. He tried selling his vacuum to manufacturers… and was rejected.
In 2017, the Dyson brand made over $1.03 billion USD in profit. And Sir James? He’s comfortably sitting on the billionaire list with a net worth of over $10 billion USD.
Famous failures like this one show that the secret to success is constant creation. By constantly creating different designs, you inch closer to creating something truly innovative, valuable, and needed in the marketplace. The more you experiment, the more you’ll grow.
4 Nick Woodman.
In 1997, Nick Woodman realized he wanted to become an entrepreneur. However, despite his first attempts with businesses like EmpowerAll, which sold electronics, and FunBug, which was a gaming and marketing platform. But he didn’t achieve any real success with these businesses. So he did what most entrepreneurs do. He pursued his passions. He loved surfing and traveling, so he decided to embark on a surfing tour. This tour helped him realize that there wasn’t anything on the market that allowed him to take surfing videos while he surfed. And GoPro was born.
Today, Woodman has an estimated net worth of $990 million. He’s sold over 30 million of his cameras worldwide. He credits his success with GoPro to his two earlier failed ventures as it reminded him that he needed to work even harder to make it a success.
This famous failure shows that inspiration can strike at anytime. If you’re destined to achieve greatness, it’ll come to you when you’re not thinking about it. It also shows that the greatest successes come from solving problems no one has thought to solve before.
5. Vera Wang.
Vera Wang’s earlier career started out like many others. She worked a full-time job at someone else’s company. She spent 15 years working her way up at Vogue. However, after repeatedly getting rejected for the Editor in Chief position, she realized that her career at Vogue just wouldn’t go any further. This led to her becoming a fashion designer and building a name for herself in the wedding gown industry.
Today, Vera Wang dresses have been worn by countless celebrities like Kim and Khloe Kardashian, Mariah Carey, Kaley Cuoco, Jennifer Lopez, Hilary Duff, and more. Her company makes more than $343.8 million in revenue each year and employs nearly 200 people. Her net worth is estimated to be $420 million.
Famous failures like Vera Wang’s teach you two core lessons. First, that you can build up a wealth of knowledge while working a 9 to 5 job that you can apply to your future business. And second, that you need to know when to pivot. By realizing she wasn’t going to get the Editor in Chief role, she opened up the possibility of taking on an opportunity much greater than Vogue could ever offer.