Think About This: Learning From Others’ Failures

We can learn a lot by studying other people’s successes, and we can learn a lot by studying failures, too.

For some missteps, we’ve heard the moral of the story since childhood. For example, the fable of the goose that laid the golden eggs. Others, even though they are examples from recent history, have forgotten details.

I rediscovered one such story listening to the Spectacular Failures podcast. In 40 minutes or less, each episode tells the saga of some incredibly well-known businesses that had almost unbelievable downfalls. 

Did you know Kodak, which went bankrupt in 2012, actually invented digital photography? But even though company executives were aware of this technology in 1975, they did not change their business, which centered on selling film. The firm did make money off its patent until 2007 when the patent expired. By then, digital photography surpassed film, and no one needed the little canister of 40 mm film sold in the golden-yellow boxes. 

 I share this story because I’ve found podcasts to be a great tool to expand my time window for learning. They are available on the go and waiting for me whenever I have the time to listen. 

When I hear that someone else is a big fan of “the pod,” I ask for recommendations. So I wanted to share Spectacular Failures as one of my own. 

If you aren’t familiar with podcasts, or how to download them to your smartphone, then ask around at work or within your family. 

I’d also like to recommend our team’s AgPro Radio. In each interview, we have a conversation with industry leaders—because there’s always something to learn.