Why we love failure

When I was travelling the other week I picked up the magazine in the seat pocket in front of me on the plane. It had all these articles on the Nordics, about culture, artists, restaurants, start-ups but what caught my eye most was a piece about success.  The message in the article was that failure isn’t the opposite to success, it was about failure being part of success. I could not agree more. And that’s the essence of how we view failure in Spotify.

Failure is part of Learning

For many of us, the word ‘fail’ does not come with positive connotations. It means you didn’t get the expected result. In school when you failed a test – ouch! Not really a positive experience. But since school I’ve learned to see failure as part of the road to success – if you don’t try, nothing will happen at all, and for every new try, there is a learning.

Like the famous old inventor Edison once said  “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”  Would Edison ever have invented the light bulb without all his failures on the way to success? Probably not.

Failure at Spotify

Don’t get me wrong here, failure without learning something is a mistake. At Spotify we actively encourage trying. We foster a growth mindset where the concept of having the potential to do better and better means you never stop learning, and always have the chance to improve. If you want to deep dive into the Growth Mindset, read my other blog post on it here.

We also arrange ‘fail-fikas’ (fika is the Swedish word for having coffee and a chat together). In those fikas we celebrate failure, having a retrospective view to see what opportunities there are to learn from what we did right and what could be improved. This sets us up in the best way to try again, in a different way.

As failure is part of success, we can’t afford not to fail!