Can you help us fail?

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

VideoScribe was born out of failure. Learning to fail quickly was the best business lesson I could have had. Now, looking beyond VideoScribe, I need your help. Where should we fail next?

I spent four years, working every hour I could, making things no-one wanted. What a fantastic learning experience that few have the time or space to go through mid-career.

My journey was the start of a lifetime quest to explore how to empower anyone with a message to engage an audience. I learnt to fail. Fail quickly.  

My first idea took 18 months and was developed in top secret conditions. No one knew what magic was happening behind closed doors. The day came to release this genius to the world – and the world ignored it.  

It didn’t get a single user.  

I guess I was lucky. This learning is hard to teach, especially to someone like me. I only believe something once I’ve experienced it for myself.

My next project failed within only six months. Then three. Then six weeks, and so on. Until the development of VideoScribe.

The app that lived

VideoScribe took about three weeks to develop in the first instance. It was a viable product that saved me from financial ruin and has wonderfully empowered a lot of people to engage their audience – and indeed it continues to do so. Of course, it’s now had endless hours of development time and care invested in it.

Why is VideoScribe so successful? There's no question it’s an addictive medium, watching someone draw.

And metaphor works. VideoScribe encourages both metaphor and storytelling.

The best (most engaging) scribes we see don’t use much text. They either have a well constructed script or a recorded lecture and they have one clear point that’s either being explained or illustrated with a story.  

Yet I'm not sure we know all the reasons that VideoScribe succeeds.

In fact, I've learnt that having all the answers doesn’t work. Asking the right questions is much more powerful.

And the question I have right now is: what should we fail at next?

Where do we go from here?

We’re continuing at Sparkol with the quest to empower as many people as possible to engage their audiences. This will result in apps, websites, products, books, articles, images, research, ideas, lectures and more.

We know about keeping it short, restricting text, using story and making it personal. But taking this deeper and translating it into a suite of products that truly empower you to get your message heard by your audience – that’s the future for us.

But we need your ideas.

With every bit of learning strapped to my back, we’re going to develop lots of small projects quickly, that prove ideas and concepts to move this mission forward. Projects looking at ideas, image, sound, video, presentation, story, metaphor – anything engaging.

Open, collaborative – and with your help.

We don’t want to build an empire. We want to see as many people as possible empowered when they need to tell their story.  

So, what do you think? What have you seen lately that’s engaging audiences? What tools would empower you to engage your audience specifically?

Please share your ideas below, or on Facebook and Twitter.

Help us to fail quickly.


By using
, you agree to
our use of cookies
I agree