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Facebook will never be Yoda – and that’s just fine

Facebook may have red faces over the launch of its Marketplace after drugs and guns were offered online, but the company is hardly likely to blink. It is one of a clutch of tech firms that experiment endlessly, fail fast and just keep going.

One of the most interesting parts to this story isn’t necessarily what happened to Facebook, but the international reaction. In the US, they had a learning experience, in the UK, they f***ked up.

You’d have thought that the famous British sense of humour would have helped us get past the screw ups, but we seem floored by our mistakes. It can’t go on.

In a world that changes this fast, we are going to make more mistakes than ever, and if the corporate culture can’t embrace it, then the corporation will fail.

Now, being from the generation that was expected to fall on its sword after a screw up, I’m the first to say that some people get let off far too easily; after a few tears and tantrums, they are back in the saddle faster than the span of a teenage romance. But that’s just generation envy, what I really think is, can we apply what we learned as quickly as possible?

My Dad used to repeat the old adage an intelligent person learns from their own mistakes, but a genius learns from the mistakes of others. I’m not sure that’s true anymore, because every day is becoming a learning experience, which it as it should be if you have the humility to accept that you will keep on making mistakes and you will keep on learning. You’re never going to be Yoda, that’s just the way it is.

But what can you do if you lack the vast resources of a Facebook?

I can give you the first step: you need to get out more. Change is not just a digital stream, it’s in the faces of the people you are not taking the time to meet. They are not Yoda either; they are you and me, and they are also heading straight for the next booby trap.

But if we go there together, we might learn something on the way.


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