The Cost of Failure

The Zara clothing company work very differently to most of their competitors.  That's why, in 40 years, they'e grown from virtually nothing to 7,000 stores world wide, and why their founder is now the 3rd richest man in the world.

I'll drip feed some of their ideas here over time, but first I need to plant a few seeds before I water them.  

Seed #1: the concept of a low cost of failure.

Read on.

Alice,aged 8, grumpy with me after I made her walk up a hill on a hot day.

Alice,aged 8, grumpy with me after I made her walk up a hill on a hot day.

I'm not sure if the photo of my daughter, Alice, is technically good but of the thousands of photos I've taken in the last year it is my favourite.


When her older sister, Aisling, was born in 2002 I bought a book from Amazon about how to take photos of kids.  It had 3 simple rules and a whole lot of photos explaining them:

1.  Take photos close up so you can really see your kid, rather than a stick figure.

2. Use natural light - again so you can see your kid's face.

3.  Take loads of photos, but only keep a few.


Way back then I had a film camera and although I knew point 3 made very good sense, it scared me because it cost a lot of money (to me) to take 36 photos then get them developed.  I knew logically that 1 or 2 good photos was better than 36 crap ones, but I still didn't follow the advice.

Nowadays, of course, with digital cameras, the internet, home photo printers, and cloud storage, the COST OF FAILURE - or to put another way, the COST OF EXPERIMENTATION - is incredibly low.  Rule 3 is much easier to apply.


The weird bit is that when we went whale watching in NZ, Aisling, who is now 11, and I had a bit of an argument.  I asked her to follow rule 3 - click, click, click, click, click when the whales were out and about then sort delete the bad photos later - but she wanted to carefully compose her pictures and delete any bad ones as she went.  

I said, 'You'd don't need to do that - you've got a 16 GB SD card.'.  

She said, 'Don't care.  I don't want to take bad photos.'

This conversation went around and around and she ended up with no good photos.

I guess there's a financial cost of failure and - I'm not sure what to call this - an emotional cost of failure.


More to come.

clarke ching1 Comment