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In this series I will be posting pieces semi-monthly containing my philosophies on web marketing, product design and conception, and of course Entrepreneurship.

While the title looks like a grammatical error, it ain’t.  “Great” is what your ideas, through hard work and dedication, must become.  “Sell” is the process by which you must convince others of your idea’s eminent Greatness.   If you can grasp hold of both of these you have lightning in a bottle, and you are positioned for incredible success.  My goal is simply to help you get there.

For those who are legitimately curious as to why they should listen to what I have to say let me just add to my online profile the fact that I’ve lived through the good, the bad, and the ugly.  In my career on the Internet which spans — well, the history of the consumer internet — I have had a number of constructive failures, and nearly as many famous successes.

At every stage and in every situation I have (for better or worse) maintained a writer’s keen observational skills, burned into my genetic code by generations of schoolteachers and journalists.  I have reflected on the thought processes, foibles and predelictions — both my own, and those of my peers — that have led great ideas down pathways both good and bad, and much worse caused bad ideas to get too far.  I’ve been lucky (in both cases) to work with some very smart people and indeed some very dumb people.

Most importantly, I have made mistakes.

Mistakes are a crucial element of learning, and we quickly forget their value once we’ve ventured out into the real world and have left the red exes, underlines, and circles from our schooling years in the rear-view mirror.  As adults we have loftier expectations, of ourselves and of others, that are completely unattainable:  We expect perfection, and dwell on failure.  The result is disappointment, discouragement, disenfranchisement, and most importantly the missed opportunity to learn.  As a result, we hastily kill great ideas while failing to understand where they went wrong.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, given that luck is such a key element in success, many people who are succesful early fail to learn anything from their experience, choosing instead to buy into their (sometimes unjustified) greater genius.  In later efforts they rely purely on their gut instinct, believing that past success serves as a functioning endorsement of all future decision-making.  This too is wrong.  The irony of overwhelming success is oftentimes the failed opportunity to discover onesself, the missed chance to learn, and most alarmingly a distorted understanding of what it means to be truly brave.

There are many quotations on success, failure, and learning from mistakes.  My favourite, believe it or not, comes from Mary Tyler Moore:  “Take chances, make mistakes. That’s how you grow. Pain nourishes your courage. You have to fail in order to practice being brave.”

Hope for perfection, but expect mistakes.  Failure comes only when we do not extract lessons from each mistake, and respect our own foibles.

Like the lady said:  Be Brave … and Keep Reading.

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