Failure is Guaranteed

Ian Lurie

Internet marketing works because failure is guaranteed. I did this little slide presentation to explain why (I hope):

I try to do only one post that gets me labeled as sarcastic and condescending per week. Otherwise my head gets too big. So this one takes it down a notch. I listened to The Doors while writing it, just to play it safe.

Ian Lurie

Ian Lurie is founder of Portent. He's been a digital marketer since the days of AOL and Compuserve (25 years, if you're counting). Ian's recorded training for, writes regularly for the Portent Blog and has been published on AllThingsD, Smashing Magazine, and TechCrunch. Ian speaks at conferences around the world, including SearchLove, MozCon, Seattle Interactive Conference and ad:Tech. He has published several books about business and marketing: One Trick Ponies Get Shot, available on Kindle, The Web Marketing All-In-One Desk Reference for Dummies, and Conversation Marketing. Ian is now an independent consultant and continues to work with the Portent team- training the agency group on all things digital. You can find him at

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  1. Ian, that was so informative yet quirky. It was educational without being boring. Good job! I think I learned a lot from that.
    Good outlook too–a new take on the meaning of success. The Michelangelo and Internet Marketing analogy seemed off the bat at first, but it was very spot-on when you explained it.
    I think this lesson can be applied to other endeavors as well, not just internet marketing. Thanks for the tips. 😀

  2. Well made. Good points.
    I especially liked how you touched on the them of constant improvement- how one should never be satisfied.
    You just made me remember why I love baseball- because it’s a metaphor for life. In hitting a baseball, (and internet marketing as pointed out in this slideshow) one must fail, learn, and adapt quickly. Otherwise, you’ll be left out all too often. And as long as you keep improving, you’ll always good or even great.

  3. I hate to be the cynic here – but this is just a bit too simplistic. “Success is what’s left when you’re done failing” – AND you have unlimited funds.
    Testing, changing your site, keeping your copy fresh and your products on target…it all takes money and time, sometimes both. As Edison said “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” but sometimes we just don’t have the funds for that 10,001st try.

  4. @Eden That’s the truth. Starting a business isn’t free. And why folks seem to think that the internet means you can start a business with zero funds, or limited funds, is beyond me.
    In between ‘no funds’ and ‘infinite funds’, though, are 99% of businesses. You don’t run in and start stuff willy-nilly. You plan around the funds you have. If you really don’t have enough to even launch a simple landing page and test it, you need to rethink your business plans.

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