A few days ago, I read an article about a curious anomaly of a game on Android phones. Called Flappy Bird, it’s got thousands of reviews attesting to it’s tendency to create throw-your-phone-under-a- steamroller rage.
This is a very interesting phenomenon considering that it’s one of the top downloaded games in Google Play, with over 50 million downloads. The game is deceptively simple in playability, and I was intrigued as to why anyone would voluntarily pick it up.
So, I did. I experienced that frustratingly hard gameplay, that never ending succession of failure alloyed by a desire to make good your loss by beating your best.
Now, I get frustrated easily. I, like many people, had my share of ragequit moments – those times when I just throw in the towel and let my emotional state get in the way of a logical decision regarding my error.
So, I was determined to play the game in a dispassionate way, choosing to become amused at my failure rather than frustrated or dismayed. It’s a game, after all. It has no basis in my value as a human being, whether I do my job well, or how I live my life.
Now, the thought strikes me, why don’t I do this all the time?
When it comes right down to it, this game is an extremely paired down version of real life. We are all human, we all make mistakes on a daily basis, and those mistakes have consequences.
The stakes are high, we are driven to get it right the first time, and we persistently believe that our performance isn’t the best it could have or should have been. So, we strive to do better still.
True, the stakes are high, but Flappy Bird reminds us that doing better is, in fact, our best. No athlete performs perfectly. No musician plays with penultimate style, no matter how dedicated. Instead, the best we can do is choose to become better. That choice, I believe, is what makes companies great.
Of course, this applies to every facet of marketing as well. The best laid plans of mice and men are often disrupted. No work, no matter how well thought out, truly survives contact with reality. From web design to inbound marketing, we refine what we do from experience, and the only way to gain experience is to occasionally fail.
So, no matter how frustrating, failure informs success – which is a very good thing to remember as I continue to fail at this little game.