Warren Buffett’s longtime partner and investor Charlie Munger said this. “Tell me where I will die and I will never go there”.
This is not only a saying. It is a way of thinking. It is a way of approaching success from another perspective. Instead of trying to win, try not to lose. Instead of trying to make money, try not to lose money.
At Advomi we’ve taken this model and we apply it to everything we do. Especially, when we launch new products. Every time we are about to launch a new product, we do a postmortem list. The product team gathers (online or in-person) and we start brainstorming all the possible reasons for the death of our new product. We list them in a Google Sheet. Then, we evaluate them. Typically, with a score from 0 to 3, where 3 = very high possibility. And when we have all the possible death reasons for our new product, we do everything right now to address these issues and to eventually avoid death.
So far this practice has served us well. Hopefully, we will continue to avoid death this way. Try it next time you launch a product or anything else, a project or an idea.
Avoiding losing has many implications in other areas of life as well. I am a tennis player and I’ve tried this on the court as well. Instead of trying to win so hard, why don’t I try not to lose the point? It works very well. There is a great essay on the topic, it’s called The Loser’s game. The idea is that in amateur tennis (and sometimes in professional) the winner is the one who loses fewer points.
In the investing world, Warren Buffet has two rules. Rule 1 is never lose money; Rule 2 is never forget Rule 1.
One last thing. Almost every nation and culture have a variety of the saying “A bird in the hand is worth two in the bushes.“ It is the very same principle. Just try to avoid death, try not to lose, stay in the game and eventually, you will win.