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Saturday, November 30, 2013

My Personal Failure - Veranto RIP, 1999-2001

My personal story of failure hails back to the first bubble - used to be online but seems to have disappeared, so posting a link to my personal narrative, published in Repertoire magazine back in December of 2001. Would love to hear comments - help me learn!

One's Story
Update - found a link online.

Friday, November 29, 2013

A History of Design @ Apple

Readers familiar with my writings and opinions know that I am NOT a fan of Apple. But if Apple is a success at anything - it's a path breaking design firm. Max Chafkin produced this six-part series on Apple design. He did fail to begin the story where it should have, in 1984 with the introduction of the Mac... (hello?) ..but spins a good tale nevertheless. And, heck, we should spend some time understanding why DESPITE everything else that is wrong with this company's approach and strategy - it IS so successful... So here goes:

Part I: An Oral History Of Apple Design: 1992 "The greatest business story of this generation is a design tale."

Part II: An Oral History Of Apple Design: 2000 Steve had to have control over anything and everything that had to do with his products.

Part III: An Oral History Of Apple Design: 2001 Apple Design becomes experimental.

Part IV: An Oral History Of Apple Design: 2004 Perfecting the iPod.

Part V: An Oral History Of Apple Design: 2010 Milking the cash cows.

Part VI: An Oral History Of Apple Design: 2013 After Steve's death, Apple loses focus. Coming soon: the iWash, an iPod controlled washing machine... :-)

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

10 Signs You May Have a Fear of Failure (from Psychology Today)

Ten Signs You Might Have a Fear of Failure

How fear of failure makes us sabotage our efforts
First Published on June 18, 2013 by Guy Winch, Ph.D. in The Squeaky Wheel

Everyone hates to fail but for some people failing presents such a significant psychological threat their motivation to avoid failure exceeds their motivation to succeed. This fear of failure causes them to unconsciously sabotage their chances of success in a variety of ways.

How Failure Can Pose a Significant Psychological Threat

Failing elicits many feelings such as disappointment, anger, frustration, sadness, regret, and confusion that while unpleasant are usually not sufficient to trigger a full blown fear of failure. Indeed, even the term fear of failure is somewhat of a misnomer because it is not failure per se that underlies the behavior of people who have it. Rather, a fear of failure is essentially a fear of shame. People who have a fear of failure are motivated to avoid failing not because they cannot manage the basic emotions of disappointment, anger, and frustration that accompany such experiences but because failing also makes them feel deep shame.

Shame is a psychologically toxic emotion because instead of feeling bad about our actions (guilt) or efforts (regret) it makes us feel bad who we are as people. Shame gets to the core of our egos, our identities, our self-esteem, and our feelings of emotional well-being. The damaging nature of shame makes it urgent for those who have a fear of failure to avoid the psychological threats associated with failing by finding unconscious ways to mitigate the implications of a potential failure (for example, by buying unnecessary new clothes for a job interview instead of reading up on the company—which allows them to use the “I just didn’t have time to fully prepare’ excuse).

The 10 Signs You Might Have a Fear of Failure

The following are not official diagnostics but if you feel these criteria are very characteristic of you (‘very’ being an important distinguishing marker as we all feel these things to some extent), you might want to examine this issue further, either by doing more reading about it or talking to a mental health professional.

1. Failing makes you worry about what other people think about you.
2. Failing makes you worry about your ability to pursue the future you desire.
3. Failing makes you worry that people will lose interest in you.
4. Failing makes you worry about how smart or capable you are.
5. Failing makes you worry about disappointing people whose opinion you value.
6. You tend to tell people beforehand that you don’t expect to succeed in order to lower their expectations.
7. Once you fail at something you have trouble imagining what you could have done differently to succeed.
8. You often get last minute headaches, stomachaches, or other physical symptoms that prevent you from completing your preparation.
9. You often get distracted by tasks that prevent you from completing your preparation that in hindsight were not as urgent as they seemed at the time.
10. You tend to procrastinate and ‘run out of time’ to complete you preparation adequately (read procrastination expert, Dr. Timothy Pychyl’s article about fear of failure here).

What to Do When You Have a Fear of Failure

The primary problem with addressing a fear of failure is that it tends to operate on an unconscious level. For example, you might feel it’s essential to finish writing out your Christmas cards because you promised to send them off by the end of the weekend—even though you’re about to take your final exams. There are two important things you can do to conquer the maladaptive ways a fear of failure can influence your behavior:

1. Own the fear. It is important to accept that failure makes you feel both fear and shame and to find trusted others with whom you can discuss these feelings. Bringing these feelings to the surface can help prevent you from expressing them via unconscious efforts to sabotage yourself and getting reassurance and empathy from trusted others can bolster your feelings of self-worth and minimize the threat of disappointing them.

2. Focus on aspects in your control. Identify aspects of the task or preparation that are in your control and focus on those. Brainstorm ways to reframe aspects of the task that seem out of your control such that you regain control of them. For example, If you’ve failed to find work because you just don’t know the ‘right people’, set the goal of expanding your network by going through your address book, Facebook and social media contacts, and reaching out to everyone you know even if they are not in your field as they might know someone who is.

For more about the many other ways failure impacts us negatively and what you can do about it, check out my book: Emotional First Aid: Practical Strategies for Treating Failure, Rejection, Guilt, and Other Everyday Psychological Injuries (Hudson Street Press, 2013).

Copyright 2013 Guy Winch

Friday, November 8, 2013

Apple Flops and Failures!!

If you ask me, the entire Apple approach is a conceptual failure - but obviously a lot of common people have fallen in love with it. It's not very different from a religious following, with all of the inherent implications. But more on that some other time...

But - Apple had also launched a slew of products that were downright business failures. This gem of a piece lays down the goods on ten of them:
1) Apple III
2) Lisa
3) Portable Mac circa 1989
4) The Newton...
5) The Pippin (never heard of it...)
6) The 20th Anniversary Mac
7) Apple eMate
8) The Hockey puck mouse...
9) Powermac G4 Cube
10) The U2 iPod

From Business Insider: From The 'Apple Lisa' To The U2 iPod: Apple Products That Totally Flopped