The Carousel Culture Podcast

We work hard to create an amazing company culture. Listen as we explore the subtle details of what makes Carousel an amazing place to work!

EP012 - Fail! with Eric Henry

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Eric Henry: Hey, JJ, in a, in a bit of a role reverse. So let me, uh, let me host this podcast if

JJ Parker: oh, awesome. I love it.

Eric Henry: So one of the things, uh, I find when I'm outside of our carousel, um, culture I talk about often is, is sort of what I think you've really modeled for us around what it.

looks like to fail fast. And, and really, um, so let's talk about that for a minute, but then also like, This idea of, of getting to some quick wins.

And so,

JJ Parker: Uh,

Eric Henry: Uh,

JJ Parker: I was like the first one, like, JJ, I want to hear from you about how you're a failure and you fail all the

Eric Henry: that's exactly what man. Well, I mean, Hey, I get this one opportunity to interview you. So I'm going to take my shot, you know, it's like, I want to hear about your failures. So, so start with your deepest, darkest failure first and how quickly you got. Okay.

JJ Parker: Uh,

Eric Henry: Yeah.

JJ Parker: it's hard to quantify, um, what, what a big failure is. And so, well, I'll just start by talking about my, my view of failure, um, because I, I think it's really interesting and I feel like I'm not sure, like I might have like a, a fairly unique perspective on failure. As kind of, as I talked to other people about it, I kind of find like, my view of it is, is different than a lot of people.

Um, you know, certainly not like completely unique or anything, but any case I love failure. Like I think failure is such a key part of like, just improving like yourself. Or the company or your products or anything like this idea that you can do something perfect. The first time without failure is completely ridiculous to me, like, hopefully like, think about that.

Like, think about this idea that you would have an expectation that you could create a new company, create a new product, like better yourself in any way with. Without taking a single misstep during that journey, that's her deal. Like no one would have, you know, like no one can possibly agree with that.

Right? Like, of course we're going to have missteps. Of course, we're going to like, like fuck it up every once in a while or, or whatever. Um, but the, the personal expectation for some reason is that you can navigate life without having failures.

Eric Henry: Yeah. do you think that comes from?

JJ Parker: I have no idea. I think. Um, I think it's actually like, it could be, uh, like a societal thing, right?

Like there is like a conditioning from when we were like through our entire early schooling or probably all of our schooling. Cause like, if you think about it, like what's the thing that. That you should get in school and the thing you should not get in school, like you should not get an F in school.


Eric Henry: All right.

JJ Parker: Like we have been conditioned that the idea of getting an F, which stands for fail is the worst thing you can do. Right. But like, I don't know. It doesn't seem like it's the worst thing you could do. Right. In one way, like I'm really with schooling. And even with my own kids, I'm like if they got an F in a subject, like there's maybe a couple of reasons, like we default to this idea that like, they're just being lazy and not doing, doing the work that might be, I mean, I have high school kids and that's probably likely most of it.

But the other thing is like, if you take a really hard class, And really push yourself and it's really hard and you don't get top marks in it. I'm super proud of that,

Eric Henry: right? Absolutely. Yeah.

JJ Parker: why take the easy a, on a subject you already know? I would much rather you take, I get a D in a subject that's super challenging for you.

Eric Henry: Right, right. Yeah. And I think you're kind of touching on, and maybe you could expand on it a little bit, you know, it's, there there's a difference between failure because of lack of preparation or effort, actually actually thinking through a problem first versus failing, because you really were, you were shooting for the stars. Right. And so maybe

JJ Parker: Yeah. Yeah. Well, so like, uh, just, just the other week. Climbing with Ray and, um, our friend, Natalie. And, uh, Natalie's like a really good climber. And so she always is like, w we're in this like little competition with each other, I'd say, or like, she puts up a hard route and then I put up another hard route and then we just go back and forth.

And, um, in that environment, I always say it like, if we're not falling, we're not trying. Right. So the idea that if we. Truly performing at the top of our game. And we're trying to push our art to the very edge. Part of that is falling off the side of the mountain. Right? If we are at work and we are on the cutting edge of, of our skill and pushing ourselves forward, I would totally expect that some of our projects.

Eric Henry: Yeah.

JJ Parker: Right because we're out there, we're, we're paving the way we're setting the new standards. Right. And the idea that we do that perfectly is isn't reasonable. So like at carousel, here's a very specific example. Um, and like, I want to recognize. When I use the word failure, some people get super triggered by that.

It's like a trigger word. Right. So I'm going to keep using it, but I don't want people to like, take it as trigger as a, like an attack. Right. Not tacking anybody. I'm not judging. I'm just like, I'm just observing what it is. Okay. We did the Mike White series, right? The reseller series, a four-part video series, the video freaking awesome.

Right. Um, Amber and Mitch did an amazing job on it. We decided that we was gonna, we were going to roll that out, um, over the course of four weeks, right? Because there are fairly long and we want to chunk it up. We had to just like operate in theory about the best way to roll it out. Well, we rolled it out in that way and it didn't really work like the first one super well attended, but then the, the subsequent views over the next four weeks went down and down and.

So was that campaign a failure? Well, by one measure, it totally was like, we missed the mark on reaching the audience. Right. Um, that doesn't mean it's like unrecoverable for us. It just means that like now we know the way that it doesn't work. So like we'll just retool. And the next time we do something like this, we'll roll it out a different way.

And actually we'll just even take the stuff we made. And reroll it out again in a different way. It'll still be effective. So judging whether that was a failure or not, you could say like, yeah, the distribution of it was a failure, but did we learn? Absolutely. And we're going to make it better the next time.

Eric Henry: Yeah. touch on the other word that you add to that as is fast. So touch on. What do

JJ Parker: Oh yeah.

Eric Henry: do you mean by failing fast?

JJ Parker: Well, so as we. Um, failure is not a negative failure is like, um, for me a positive, right? Like there's this, who was it? I'm going to mess up the quote, but it's like, I don't know, Benjamin Franklin or Albert Einstein, or someone said, said like, oh no, inventing the light bulb. Right? Like what, whatever. There's like a thousand attempts at making a light bulb.

And then, you know, he learned like, like there's like all the wisdom. And they finally found the one way to do it. Right? So, uh, all those, all those failures are part of the process. Now, um, the key to me is that you have to fail fast if you spend like, you know, a decade slowly, not something you've just wasted immense amount of time.

So the question to me, How do we try something and figure out if it works not as fast as possible. So like increase the cycles, increase the reps on failure because then we'll learn faster. Right. So that's what I mean by fail fast, like let's do it like let's, let's not be afraid of failure. But let's figure out if we're failing as fast as possible.

So we don't waste a whole bunch of time doing the wrong thing.

Eric Henry: Yeah. Yeah. And we could spin this off. I know we gotta wrap up our time here, but we could spin this off into a whole lot of conversations, right. Like, okay. That means let's talk about quick wins or the cost fallacy. D do you a thing because you're not sure if you failed it or we already put all this money into it, you know, like there's

JJ Parker: yeah. Some sunk cost fallacy situation happened in there.

Eric Henry: spin off in a few more podcasts.

JJ Parker: Yeah. Well, so, um, yeah, I mean, for us, if you look at our business over the years, I'd say like, there's a bunch of stuff we've failed at, right. And there's a bunch of stuff we've succeeded at. And it's just part, it's just part of being a company of innovation.

Be it a company like ours, one of our core values is continual improvement. Well, we're not going to know where to improve until we like figure out where we're like falling on our face. You know what I mean? Like, and that's totally okay. Like, it's totally okay. I would so much. People try stuff, have it not work, it quickly, learn, and then try it again.

Eric Henry: Yeah, absolutely.

JJ Parker: we want because that's what keeps us being an innovative company. And we get too tight, we, we get too conservative, we're not going to be able to the ball fast enough. And we're going to lose to our competition.

Eric Henry: And that's, and that makes kind of a boring place to work. Right. I mean, if you're climbing 5.7 sport routes all the time, and they're super easy for you eventually, you're going to get bored with climbing, right? Like that's just kind of,

JJ Parker: nomenclature.

Eric Henry: I should have just said five, seven, right? Not five points of it, but.

JJ Parker: Uh, totally. So everyone, you're hearing it directly from me. Go fail at something, please.

Eric Henry: And do it quickly.