Fail fast

Failure is inevitable. Just be sure you fail fast, so you leave time to figure out how to succeed. UPDATE 5/31 2:35PM Sorry, just got around to giving credit to the original source, an interview with futurist/thinker Freeman Dyson by Wired magazine.

Say something about failure in experiments or businesses or anything else. What's the value of failure?

You can't possibly get a good technology going without an enormous number of failures. It's a universal rule. If you look at bicycles, there were thousands of weird models built and tried before they found the one that really worked. You could never design a bicycle theoretically. ... But just by trial and error, we found out how to do it, and the error was essential....

This brings up an interesting issue of where theory fits in. Presumably there was not a theory of planes before there were planes.

There was an attempt at a theory of airplanes, but it was completely misleading. The Wright brothers, in fact, did much better without it.

So you're saying just go ahead and try stuff and you'll sort out the right way.

That's what nature did. And it's almost always true in technology. That's why computers never really took off until they built them small.

Why is small good?

Because it's cheaper and faster, and you can make many more. Speed is the most important thing - to be able to try something out on a small scale quickly.

Fail fast.

Yes. These big projects are guaranteed to fail because you never have time to fix everything.