The Reason Why You Should Be Making (Small) Mistakes

When it comes to ecommerce most of us live in a “Fog of War”. What, never heard about it?

What is “Fog of War”?

intel-armyIn military strategy the term shows the uncertainty one has to deal with when it comes to battle area, enemy forces, enemy positioning and others. The “Fog of War” can easily be described as a lack of visibility or understanding of engagement conditions. The less you know, the thicker the fog.

In a given “Fog of War”  situation, you have to maximize intel by diplomatic, open-source or secret intelligence so as to prepare as best as possible to engage the enemy or prepare for any incoming attack. What is definitely not an option is just sit around and expect the enemy to attack.

The basic thing you need to take away is that when in dark, you have to shine some light by exploring nearby terrain and options.

There is no success without failure. But failure is definitely not success.

All in all – mistakes or failures are pretty useless. I mean – of course, Thomas Edison is famous for saying “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work” when referring to his inability to find a decent light bulb.

Unfortunately for most of us trying to innovate our way to success, what this quote fails to mention is that by that moment Edison was successful enough to fund those 10,000 failures.

The fact is failure is still failure. Mistakes are mistakes. There is nothing great or noble in making mistakes. If possible – don’t make them. But if you do – mark them as not to be repeated and than leave them behind.

No one remembers Columbus for his 17 years trying to get a couple of lousy boats to cross over the ocean while NOT discovering  America. No one remembers Einstein for his brilliant carrier as a patent clerk while NOT improving his Theory of Relativity. Everybody gets credit for the things that are NOT mistakes or failures.

However, along the way to success, while discovering and gathering informations to see through the Fog of War, we will make mistakes. Actually most of the things we will be doing will be mistakes. That means we are trying. That means we are searching and while searching, at some point we will come across our objective and then, just then, we will be ready to learn from our mistakes. Not before, because …

We, humans, don’t “learn from our mistakes” because our brain is not built that way

You must have heard the phrase “we learn from your mistakes” so much by now that you consider it a fact. Well – it’s not. When it comes to learning and discovering somewhat complex tasks we are really better at learning from successful actions rather than mistakes.

Apparently our brain remembers short term memories that lead to correct actions and forgets useless details that just don’t work. According to Earl Miller, professor of neuroscience at MIT, “it is reward, rather than its absence, that is driving learning.”

So while trying to find out how to outsell your competitor remember what really counts: the times you got something right. That’s when you and your team will be learning the most important things. And you need to learn and discover new things because …

There is a world of possibilities when it comes to ecommerce

Netonomy.NET being an ecommerce blog, I wrote this post  to encourage you to try new things, to innovate and allow yourself the right to make mistakes. However – don’t settle for anything but success.

Watching Amazon, Ebay, and all other big online retailers is not enough. Do your own thing. Try, fail, succeed. The next big thing is just around the corner, if you’re willing to go through some Fog of War.

Author: Mihai Mike Dragan

Mihai Mike Dragan is an ecommerce expert and the cofounder and COO of Oveit, a global company focusing on live experiences technology, both virtual and in-person. Mike has an experience of over 15 years in building digital products, with a focus on ecommerce. He has worked with some of the largest consumer brands in the world, advising on their digital go to market strategy.   Mike Dragan is also the author of the "Understanding Omnichannel Retail - beyond clicks vs. bricks" ebook, a guide for companies that understand consumer behaviour across media. He holds two degrees, one in International Economics and one in Computer Science.

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