JFDI – Brains = Flearn









Yesterday at our Pollenizer weekly standup, I told a quick story of my epic JFDI Flearn over the past few days. It’s well worth a clearer retrospective.


  1. Last Monday ‘we’ set Clare Hallams weekly goal of getting 300 followers.
  2. To make sure she got there, but mainly as a prank, I decided to use Fiverr. The first offer that came up was 20,000 followers for $5. I paid it.
  3. Clare got 20,000 followers overnight and was understandably furious.
  4. I realised what a big mistake I had made.

I knew instantly why it was such a dumb thing to do and why Clare was so angry with me. I was devastated.

Much of my weekend was spent worrying about what I’d done and working on trying to fix it. Including 8 messages to the Fiverr service provider, posting an ad on Freelancers, speaking to a contractor I know and emailing Twitter.

From this, I’ve learned some big lessons.

If Stimulus equals idea then think else flearn

The most important lesson was that our ability to do good work is a factor of our influence over our decisions. If we purely respond, then we are not very influential. I had an idea and acted on it without thinking through the consequences.

What about JFDI?

JFDI is not acting without thought. It’s acting without fear. You have an idea, you quickly think through the intended consequences and consider any unintended consequences and then you act. You don’t wait till it’s perfect or risk free. But you certainly take a moment. If I had taken a minute, then it all would have been avoided.

Two quick questions I will now ask myself before JFDI’ing:

  1. Can this be easily undone? A JFDI tweet can be deleted. 20,000 followers aren’t as easy to fix.
  2. Does it personally impact anyone? The account was Clare’s private account. Something I had no right to JFDI with. I would have been insulted if someone did that to my account and that should have been my ‘check in’ test before acting.

Very luckily, the process was reversed and Clare’s account is back to normal. A huge thanks to Clare for being so understanding and helping me flearn.

Fail + Learn – #flearn

To boost the amount of great failure in order to embrace the learnings and explodify the successes, we came up with the following hashtag;


Of course it’s a combination of Fail plus Learn.




Brief history;

  1. Australia doesn’t embrace failure because life is so darn good why have the ambition to bother trying and even risk failing.
  2. We want a great startup industry here so we want more good failure.
  3. Some great peeps ran Failcon in Sydney and we all got jazzed up.
  4. I ran a final session on turning the ra-ra into action.
  5. We started a shared spreadsheet with fail ideas and owners of them.
  6. We followed up with a brainstorming session at Pollenizer today with some people from a co-working Jelly jumping in.
  7. Right at the end when we almost gave up, Ross Gerring suggested flearn.  Great work Ross and team!

What a great story – so much good came together!

So why use it?

  1. Most importantly because you will always fail and learn your way to success so embrace it.
  2. To give us a comfortable language in order to share our failures.
  3. To bring failures out to the world and stop them being hidden under the rug.
  4. To have a way to search and find good stories when we’re feeling bad (or complacent).

How to use it?

  1. Easy – just whack it on the end of tweets
  2. Use it in blog posts
  3. Pop it in presentations
  4. Add it to your LinkedIn profiles (Like me)
  5. Write about it in your magazines and newspapers if you’re a journo (hint!)
  6. Say it out loud.
  7. Use it at a task, project, business or life level – all learnings from failings are beneficial.
  8. Share it and share it and share it.
Some suggested sentences;
  • “Oh god, zero responses, what a epic #flearn”.
  • “Server not responding… umm, #flearn”
  • “So the customer said to get lost, he’d never pay me ever. Great #flearn”
  • “We just stuck it up there and tried some different options. Super fast #flearn”

Some of my proud #flearnings:

  • Blowing up 5 monitors I was trying to sell when 19.
  • Trying to sell advanced technology to governments when I was 24.
  • Trying to sell disruptive technology to big corporates at Kazaa when I was 26.
  • Getting a lift with guys I’d just met in Tanzania. Big #flearn kids.
  • Going against my gut instinct just because someone was more ‘experienced’ than I was. #zapr
  • Not saying someone should not doing something because it would hurt their feelings.
  • Doing far to much at once. #tangler
  • Launching to the world when you’ve only got 10 customers. #posse
  • Thinking that because I convinced someone to do something that they really got it. #manytimes

 So go and #flearn as fast as you can.