Little Bets

In the latest Aardman film The Pirates: In an Adventure with Scientists, Pirate Captain reaches the end of his tether with his job and considers a new career in baby clothes.

The Pirate Captain falls out of love with his job.

His trusty side kick reminds him of all the good things about the job and Pirate Captain reconsiders.  He sets off in search of the title of Pirate of the Year and swash buckles his way aboard various ships, none of which carry any treasure.

He continues to fail in finding any gold. When he meets Charles Darwin on his ship (‘I just want a girlfriend, I’m so miserable’) again there is no booty. The exasperated Pirate Captain finally explodes ‘just one success.  Is it too much to ask’ he yells, ‘to have one success?!’

I’m currently reading Peter Sims book Little Bets about about how entrepreneurs think.  They don’t have brilliant ideas, they take chances, fail quickly and learn fast.  Chapter 2 of Little Bets  is devoted to the importance of failure.  Google, Pixar and Starbucks didn’t start out as good ideas – they developed through failing and improving.  It ties in with my previous blog about the importance of the journey when making a career change – but not knowing the destination.

A change of mind set

At Pixar a part of the journey is a method called ‘plussing.’  It’s aim ‘to build upon and improve ideas without using judgemental language.’ You come to the table with an idea and you make me look good by adding to it.  You by pass the judgemental part of your brain.  There are no ‘buts’ instead the language used is ‘yes and’, ‘what if we did this?’  It is proven to be an effective way to develop ideas.  Some things will work and others won’t – but failing is an accepted part of the process – it’s a way of learning and improving.

Sophie Cornish cofounder of notonthehighstreet.com is clear about the necessity of failure ‘it’s not how you succeed, it’s how you deal with the failures that makes you a good business owner.’  On their launch day their website failed – they had the eyes of the press watching them.  Whilst they could have done without it, how they reacted to that situation was key to their survival.

Entrepreneur and founder of positiveluxury.com Diana Verde Nieto is certain she would make the same mistakes and failures again. “The mistakes I have made have allowed me to get here and made me a lot stronger as a leader –  as a person.  So some of the mistakes I needed to make inorder to grow – I don’t want any of the hardships taken away from me – I needed to go through them.”

The Pirate Captain has to deal with his practical failures as a pirate and his failings as a human being.  Charles Darwin likewise.  Do they fall back in love with their jobs?  I wouldn’t want to spoil it for you.

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2 Responses to Little Bets

  1. Weekender says:

    Aardman – the makers of ‘Pirates’ – are worth investigating. From Morph to Hollywood – how did two guys with a bag of Plasticine turn their dream job into a money maker, while still remaining creative (and funny)?

  2. Yes quite Weekender – thank you for your comment. A truncated version of the story is here:-http://www.smh.com.au/entertainment/movies/a-short-history-of-aardman-animations-20120404-1wcf6.html – but you must pinch yourself if you have a job making plasticine models – in the same way you would if you built lego for a living. But it won’t be everyone’s dream job!

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