Wired ran an interview of Freeman Dyson in which he had the following exchange with Stuart Brand:
Brand: So you’re saying just go ahead and try stuff and you’ll sort out the right way.
Dyson: That’s what nature did. And it’s almost always true in technology. That’s why computers never really took off until they built them small.
Brand: Why is small good?
Dyson: Because it’s cheaper and faster, and you can make many more. Speed is the most important thing — to be able to try something out on a small scale quickly.
Brand: Fail fast.
Dyson: Yes. These big projects are guaranteed to fail because you never have time to fix everything.
“Fail fast” has been a mantra of mine ever since. Actually, it has been more of an obsession, as anyone who has worked with me for more than a few weeks can confirm. I’ve decided to extend this infatuation to a blog so I can share with you the many references I’ve seen — and my friends and colleagues have shared with me — to document the concept, its many flavors, and its considerable benefits.