Digg Users Declare “Quit Digg” Day!

The 30th of August, 2010, might be a day to remember for years to come: The day that Digg pays its dues and is sentenced to obsolescence for its repetitive crimes against its loyal users. Finally, it seems that the time has come for Kevin Rose and his crew to evacuate the premises, maybe come back again with a different social media tool or just disappear off of the face of the earth!

This is based on Read Write Web’s announcement yesterday: “Reddit has taken over the front page of Digg…. Not only did Digg’s users declare today “quit Digg day,” but in order to protest Digg’s new auto-submission system, users are now upvoting every Reddit story on the site. These stories are being submitted to Digg by Reddit itself through the new auto-submission system that is a core part of Digg v4“.

Digg Front Page Taken Over by Reddit

Failure is Critical

Whether you’re aware of it or not, you, the humble reader, are quite accustomed to failure. Think back to the start of your day, from the moment you woke up until now. What’s the first failure you can think of? How about a less obvious and even smaller failure?

My answers to those questions: after waking up I habitually pull on a cord to open the blinds to get a look at the weather. This morning I didn’t have a firm grasp on the cord and as I pulled on it my hand slipped off the plastic knob which then went about whipping me in the face. That was a surprising failure. A more subtle failure was that I let my green tea steep too long, making it taste a bit like fish.

I reacted to both failures in a certain way. Whipping myself in the face made me feel stupid for a moment, but then I had an idea for an alarm clock that would open the blinds for me. Steeping my green tea too long inspired me to see if anyone made a timer that would lift the tea bag out when ready.

Rather than simply say to myself “iIll remember that for next time.”, I said “there’s a solution to that problem that I can either buy already or I could sell.”

These are trivial failures used mainly to help illustrate a point. Oversteeping tea is a lot different than overestimating the demand for your product.

Which leads me to core of what I’ve been wanting to suggest all along: good entrepreneurs know not only how turn failure into success, but how to increase their opportunities to learn from failure.

Let me pitch a business idea:

We’re going to head over to Germany and see if the record stores there will either give or sell their unsold stock for cheap, then we’ll load them up in the trunk of my car and try to sell them to people walking past.

That sounds like a very simple idea that is also destined for failure. But that’s exactly how Virgin Records started. While it’s hard to find a diary of everything that’s wrong with the idea, two things are clear: every failure Branson experienced was overcome, and even if he hadn’t been able to gain from his failures the initial financial costs to Branson were incredibly low. By design, he made it easy to fail.

The phrase “fail fast” is practically a cliche now, but the principles behind the phrase are what allowed Branson to iteratively fail, learn from mistakes made, grow as a result, and become one of the world’s richest men.

Speaking about his decision to start an airline, Branson said:

My interest in life comes from setting myself huge, apparently unachievable challenges and trying to rise above them…

I’d bet that the cost for Branson to travel from the UK to Germany to start Virgin Records is more than what it costs to incorporate, get basic accounting in place, and setup the services to start accepting payments from customers costs today.

Here are just a few services that can help you get started down a path of failing, succeeding, and repeating. Go rise above the unachievable!

Design
CrowdSpring
Sortfolio
99designs

Collaboration/Communication
Basecamp
Campfire
Skype
Grasshopper (disclaimer – I work for Grasshopper as Director of Grasshopper Labs)

Accounting/Billing
Freshbooks
LessAccounting
Chargify (disclaimer – Chargify started as a Grasshopper Labs project)

“Gone Google – Global Campaign Preview” [video]

“Gone Google” Campaign: The clip with the analysis and the realizations.

Top 10 Web Startup Business Screwups!

Why do many new web startups, with great ideas, valuable assets and deep motivation, fail? What are the major mistakes small businesses commit leading them to failure? What can be done to prolong the life of a startup rather than bring its business life to a guaranteed end?

Did social media fail the Egyptians?

Earlier last week I attended a journalists’ panel discussion in Alexandria Library. The panel meant to discuss social media effect in mobilizing people. To be more specific, it focused on giving answers to the question of why social media failed to mobilize people in Egypt on the ‘Day of Anger’. According to Arab Media Blog,...

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