A catalyst for success.
Failure is a universal experience—as inevitable as death and taxes. Virtually everyone is interested in the subject, whether they are conscious of it or not. Some people want to learn from it and avoid the mistakes of others. Some people simply enjoy dwelling on the misery of others. And others are curious about how and why failure is often a catalyst for success.
This is why Failure was born. A 12-year-old online publication that covers the subject of “failure” (as well as its close relative, success) providing high-quality, titillating, thought provoking content, not to mention branded merchandise, to the widest audience possible.
So, does Failure have a successful story? According to Jason Zasky, co-founder and editor, “Yes, just the fact that we’ve chosen to call ourselves Failure is a signal that we’re carving our own unique path to marketplace success. How many business entities feature the word “failure” in their name? Of course, that presents some unique challenges, because a certain percentage of people live in fear of failure and can never get past our name. On the other hand, Failure is a memorable moniker and helps us to stand out from everything else in the media universe.”
Failure considers itself unique from other media properties in that they produce sophisticated content, which seems to be in short supply nowadays, especially online. First-time visitors to the site expect failuremag.com to be flip and obnoxious, but they are serious about the subject matter and serious about giving failure the respect it deserves.
Also, they tend to cover stories that are a little off the beaten path, the kind of subjects that are often ignored by the corporate media. They don’t pay much attention to politics or the hurricane weather reports of the world, because those stories are already well covered elsewhere. Instead, they feature people and ideas that you probably won’t see or hear about anywhere else.
What does the future look like for Failure?
“I see failure in my future because we look for failures,” Zasky said. “Before we launched the website at the height of the dot-com boom, we saw many entrepreneurs spending millions with no clear idea of how they are going to generate revenue. In contrast, we were very conservative—very careful about spending. Twelve years later, we operate much the same way. No spending unless there is a clear idea of what the return will be. Best to be lean and understand our true value provided to our customers. Failure has been and continues to be worth our personal and professional investment.”
As for future strategy recommendations, Failure believes everyone should stay true to who you are. If it doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t. Also, plan ahead and try to anticipate any possible pitfalls. This is especially true if your business operates online or has a major online component, because mistakes online can haunt you for a long time.
“I think what every business wants to do is to understand who their customer is, and then provide that customer the best experience possible,” Zasky said. “It doesn’t matter whether it’s content, servicing a meal or a place to stay. But ideally, you’d also like to be able to differentiate yourself from your competitors. For example, at Failure we really admire companies like Southwest Airlines. Their employees seem passionate about what they do, which also resonates with us at Failure. Like any business, we have to be passionate about what we do, so it translates into a product that the customer wants.
“As for Failure, on the (hopefully) rare occasions where we make a mistake, people tend to joke about it. They say, ‘That’s just Failure living up to its name.’”
What is your business Failure success story? One+
One+ July 2012