Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The Law of Failure and the Pretotyping Effect

The Law of Failure states:

X% of all new Y will fail

Where X% is a disheartening large percentage (say, 80-90% or more) and Y is some new thing (an app, a company, a restaurant, a novel, a non-profit organization, a genetically modified artichoke, etc.)

You've probably heard variations on the Law of Failure many times:
  • 90% of all mobile apps don’t make any money
  • 4 start-ups out of 5 lose money for the investors
  • 73% of new restaurants close within one year
  • ...
Most new products, services, companies, book, etc., do not succeed; primarily because they are not the right 'it' – and there's not much that you can do about such lost causes.

Pretotyping does not improve the odds of failure, nor does it help you avoid failure. Heck, it doesn't even try.  Quite the contrary, pretotyping seeks failure and uses the Law of Failure to its advantage – the same way good accountants use tax laws and Lady Gaga uses paparazzi.

Once you start practicing pretotyping – and if you practice it well – you will fail many more times than before ... but with a VERY BIG difference.

The following image compares what happens with and without pretotyping, assuming the same investment of time, money and effort.  I call it The Pretotyping Effect:

As the image shows, if you are afraid of failure, pretotyping is not for you.  Pretotyping is not a way to avoid failure; it actually accelerates the rate of failure and dramatically increases the number of failures.  But they are all fast failures, which leave you plenty of time to keep trying new ideas so you can increase your odds of finding the right 'it.'

Alberto Savoia