Failure helps you grow. That’s the so-true-it’s-become-clichéd thesis at the heart of our latest episode, as PJ sits down with Braze Cofounder and CEO Bill Magnuson and Branch Founder and COO Mike Molinet to discuss the mistakes that helped them grow:
Take Ownership of Your Failures
There’s no use in passing the buck. Once something goes wrong, as it inevitably will in the tech world, take ownership of the misstep and assure anyone affected by this mistake that you’re working quickly to fix it. Be honest, be transparent, and don’t try to hide from the mistake or throw others under the bus. It’ll never work.
After You Fail, Develop Fail-Safes
It’s a no-brainer. Once you make a mistake, develop the infrastructure so that it never happens again. For instance, Bill recounts a time early in the days of Braze where a campaign went wrong and accidentally took a client’s website off the internet! After that, Bill and his team developed automatic backups. And in general, it taught the team an important lesson about being responsible internet citizens.
Don’t Single People Out for Mistakes
Sometimes it’s clear that a certain engineer might have caused a mistake. If that’s the case, don’t take them to task in a public Slack channel. Instead, address the problem privately and talk through ways to avoid this in the future. Creating shame around failure makes people afraid to take risks. Freedom from shame and “psychological safety” encourages people to work quickly and passionately without constantly fearing fallout from mistakes.
In Tech, New Problems Signal Progress
In technology, things are constantly changing. And new developments breed new challenges and new failures. Embrace this phenomenon—and know that failure comes with the territory in the tech space. Know that without those challenges, you won’t be able to grow as quickly.
As Winston Churchill once said, “Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.” Hopefully this discussion with two martech veterans will give you the enthusiasm to plow forward through whatever setbacks cross your path. Listen to the full episode here.