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.

You Can Fail From Anywhere in the World

LED Whale LoveThe Australian “Tall Poppy Syndrome” is powerful and all pervasive. We like people to succeed, but to be grounded. We like people to earn their way but not to be ostentatiously wealthy. And we want our heroes to be likeable – we want them to be the kind of people we would have a beer with.

The only kind of elitism we can stomach is the kind exhibited by high performing sportsmen or women. But even then, it can be a tightrope to walk.

In almost every other field of human endeavour, Australians tend to like our heroes humble, honest and down to earth. This is equally true in the world of startups.

But I wonder … do we also like our failures to be humble? Do we have an ear for their stories? Do we want to hear of the great turnaround – of snatching funding victory from the jaws of startup defeat? Do we only crave the grand stories – or is there something that we can learn from the small failures, the personal catastrophes and business losses? And if so, what do these sound like?

For clearly, it’s possible to fail from anywhere in the world.

The folks on the Attendly blog have captured a series of Stories of Failure and Redemption. And while I was reading I was struck by the other worldliness of the stories. They seemed out of context. Out of reach.

And then about halfway through I came across this:


mmMule is a social travel network connecting locals who want stuff with travelers who can deliver it. In return for delivery travelers are rewarded with fun, local travel experiences.


Avis Mulhall – Co-founder of mmMule

Our biggest failure was a near-death experience. Shortly after arriving in Sydney and during the creation of mmMule, I became seriously ill. So ill in fact that I nearly died – enduring four months in hospital, 3 major surgeries and even now I have an ongoing battle with Crohn’s disease.

At some point we really felt that it could be the end of the road for mmMule, things seemed really dark. But throughout everything, I had a single-minded vision – you could call it blind faith or you could call it stupidity – all I knew was that this was going to happen, that despite everything, we’d pull it off and get to launch.

You can read the full article on the site – and learn more about Avis’ unique story of failure and redemption. But the most exciting aspect was to read a local tale. To know that you don’t need to travel to #flearn. And that such opportunities exist right under our noses.

But what about you? What have you flearned? And more importantly, what can you share.

Image: Scott Beale via Compfight