Google’s Vinton Cerf on the Culture of Tolerating Failure

In a classic stupid move, I asked Vint Cerf, Google’s Chief Internet Evangelist, about Google’s culture of failure. What I meant to say, as Cerf corrected me, was “how does Google foster a culture of tolerating failure?” His explanation:

  • All employees are encouraged to spend 20 percent of their time on any project they want.
  • Larry Page urges Googleites to be more ambitious. He always wants them to shoot higher.
  • If something fails, it’s important to understand why.



  1. BY Jim Lola says:

    Yup, that was certainly a Homer Simpson moment.

    Organizations that tolerate failure AND then learn from those failures are true innovative organizations and usually become very successful organizations. That is what RESEARCH & DEVELOPMENT is ALL ABOUT!

    Organizations that tolerate failure and learn nothing usually are not in business long. Organizations that DO NOT tolerate failure DO NOT learn and are considered as mediocre.

    True and successful innovators have the following quote on their walls, “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” by Thomas A. Edison re the light bulb.

  2. BY David Spark says:

    Love that Edison quote.

    I like to think of my interview as one of the ways not to conduct an interview. :)

Post a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>