There’s a badge of honor called “Failure” in Silicon Valley, where failed startups and failed experiments are highly regarded as dues paid. Science has long honored this tradition. Indeed, any success story usually comes with a long tail of fail behind it, making the success possible. That’s why serial entrepreneur Elon Musk (PayPal, Tesla, SpaceX) released a greatest hits video of his SpaceX rocket failures. The rocket fail greatest hits video shows humility and instructs those who think everything Musk touches turns immediately to gold. It doesn’t, as the video shows.
Musk’s move is akin to a story about a legendary Wall Street executive who had a single piece of paper framed on the wall behind his imposing desk. It read: “Babe Ruth struck out 1,330 times.” Most people remember Ruth’s 714 home runs, but the misses and near-misses are what make success possible. Kudos to Musk for giving people a reminder of how life — and business — really work.