Taking risks in business means that sometimes you will fail, says AOL cofounder Steve Case. Experimentation is the essence of progress, whether it’s in the sciences or in business, and most major social achievements are a result of a big ideas realized through countless small experiments. In America’s quest to land a man on the moon, for example, committing small mistakes along the way was the only path toward success.
Case gives another example: Babe Ruth. Yes, the Great Bambino is remembered for being the home run king, but he was also the strikeout king. “If you’re swinging for the fences,” says Case, “you’re going to strike out. But you have to keep at it and if you keep at it you sometimes will have those homeruns. Sometimes you’ll win those games.” Thus failing in business isn’t really failing at all, but rather gaining life experience, so you’ll do better the next time around.
In this video clip, Case discusses some of the roadblocks he encountered as co-founder of AOL, which at one point brought the Internet to half of all Americans going online. Case’s book is The Third Wave: An Entrepreneur’s Vision of the Future.