The myth of the overnight success
In 2012, a company called Rovio announced that it had just received $32 million in funding for one of its mobile games.
The name of the game? Angry Birds.
It quickly became the number-one paid app on iTunes and later, the best-selling paid app of all time. To the outside world it appeared as if Rovio had hit the jackpot on their first attempt.
The real story is quite the opposite.
The company had already been building games for eight years. During this period, they made more than 50 games but none of them achieved any notable success.
At one stage, the company nearly went under.
Angry Birds was the culmination of many failures before they finally achieved success. And yet the majority of people don’t know this.
This is a great example of the persistent and unhelpful myth of the ‘overnight success’ which is caused by ‘information asymmetry’.
In other words, we only hear the news of startups when they’re doing well. However, when these same companies are in their early phases and struggling, we don’t hear anything at all.
Some companies are even brave enough to own up to their mistakes.
The well-known everyday lubricant WD-40 is literally named after its thirty-nine failures and one success.
It was originally designed for use in the aerospace industry but it only became successful once the company took it to retail after realising that employees were using it for other tasks.
The message here is try not to look at your mistakes as failures.
It’s not wrong, it’s just not right yet.