A slim man in glasses talks into a microphone while a bearded man in headphones listens.

Sam Smith is a big hand talker, and John Krewson is, I guess, a big beard listener?
Screenshot: Driven to Fail via YouTube

There’s this term that’s become more and more popular as our society has gotten more and more absurd, and you’ve probably heard of it. It’s called “failing up,” and it’s both a favored pastime and a valid career path for many cisgender straight white guys of low-to-middling talent (myself included). Failing up is usually used in a pejorative sense, but sometimes it makes for a pretty damned good story.

In case you missed it:

It’s that last category that concerns automotive journalist, kind-hearted weirdo and generally wonderful human Sam Smith and his podcast, Driven to Fail. In it, he talks to people in the automotive industry who have built sometimes infamous, sometimes legendary, careers on the back of big failures, and he seeks to find out what drives those people to push past those missteps and on to new things.

The Man Who Was “The Stainless Steel Carrot” – Driven to Fail w/ Sam Smith, Ep 8 – John Morton

Normally I wouldn’t bother talking about something that was put out by that insurance company that must not be named, but this is such an interesting reversal of the normal idea of covering the biggest and best, the winners and the success junkies, that it’s worth sharing with you all. Sam also finds a way to approach these subjects with his typical level of kindness, insight and humor, making it an easy listen.

So, if you’re bored at work today — and I know you are because you’re reading this — you should toss on a pair of headphones and enjoy.

Improving Every Day, Even When You Think You’re Not – Driven to Fail w/ S. Smith, Ep 4 – Larry Chen



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