In his interview on yesterday’s episode of Smashing the Plateau, Tim Fargo spoke at length about the process of learning from mistakes and missteps, and how what seem like simple business success stories are almost always too simple. Here, he shares a list of people who helped him make his own entrepreneurial efforts successful:
1. W. Edwards Deming, engineer and statistician
Deming is best-known for his work in Japan after WWII, where he helped shaped the culture of postwar Japanese industry. From Deming, Fargo explains, he learned “the value of approaching situations with process versus massive inspection and so on. And those lessons are so incredibly powerful. If you want to have a high-quality result repeatedly, you’ve got to apply a process, and not react to individual circumstances. You iterate off of a statistically significant experience, and it might sound really boring and really dry but it really works.
“It isn’t the most sexy thing—total quality management—but it’s hugely important in having a company, or having a business that really matters to your customers. W. Edwards Deming—what an instrumental figure in making the difference—the car that starts every day versus the old car that didn’t. That man is responsible for a lot of that happening in our lives…
“If you apply his thinking to anything in life, you can figure out how defining the process will improve the outcome. Might seem trivial, but it’s a helluva insight.”