Finding Success in Failure: A Lesson From The SpaceX Starship Launch

Published: April 27, 2023

Last week, SpaceX launched their Starship rocket for its first ever test flight as the most powerful rocket ever built. The plan was for Starship to achieve orbit, complete nearly one full orbit around the Earth before reentering the atmosphere and performing a splashdown in the Pacific Ocean. However, approximately four minutes after launch, the rocket exploded. To many, that sounds like a failure. To the SpaceX founder Elon Musk and his employees, it was considered a major success.

As previously mentioned, this was only Starship’s first test flight. Despite falling short of its intended goal, what is now known as the largest rocket to ever fly made it off the launch pad and was in flight for nearly four minutes before its ordered destruction. Not to mention, this brief flight provided extensive amounts of data for engineers to analyze for needed adjustments before the next flight. But what does this have to do with running a business?

Fail Fast, Learn Faster

An unfortunate truth of life is that humans make mistakes, and we fail consistently. The only way we can continually overcome those failures is to learn from them. Allow yourself to fail, accept it, figure out why you failed, and make the changes necessary to prevent this failure from happening again. In business, it’s the same.

As a business owner, it can be easy to get wrapped up in the nitty gritty details in search of perfection due to fear of failure. Maybe you leased an office space in a bad location, or hired the wrong candidate, or ordered too much inventory. It’s okay to make mistakes, but make sure to use them as learning experiences to help prevent failures in the future. The team at SpaceX was fully prepared for the launch to fail, but they were also prepared to get as much data as possible so they could further improve the rocket for a better test flight next time. Implementing this mindset can help entrepreneurs and businesses as whole overcome their obstacles and continue moving forward. Ultimately, if there is one thing to be learned from the Starship launch, it is that embracing intelligent failure is the key to innovation.

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