You don’t need to outrun the bear; you just need to outrun your friend. 


Tim Axon

Tim Axon


At LeanConvert we love the adage of outrunning the bear: you don’t need to outrun the bear; you just need to outrun your friend. 

Fail faster and better than your closest rival

This principle applies not just to survival scenarios but also to the competitive world of digital optimisation. Here, success doesn’t always stem from flawless execution, but often from the lessons learned through failure – and in this scenario you need to learn to fail faster and better than your rivals. 


This might sound paradoxical in a culture that prizes success and fears failure, but embracing mistakes as a stepping stone rather than a stumbling block can significantly boost your chances of long-term success.

Be more Post-it!

A poignant  example  is the invention of the humble Post-it Note. Originally, Spencer Silver, a scientist at 3M, was attempting to develop a super-strong adhesive. Instead, he created a low-tack, reusable, pressure-sensitive adhesive. This “failure” was initially seen as a mistake with no practical application. However, when colleague Art Fry used the adhesive to anchor his bookmark in his hymnbook, the idea for Post-it Notes was born. What started as a failed experiment in adhesive technology turned into one of the most practical office supplies used around the world with sales of over 50 billion annually – quite a failure!

For businesses, the danger does not lie in failing but in failing to fail well. This principle is particularly pertinent when it comes to an organisation’s website and apps. The online landscape is fiercely competitive, and the ability to quickly adapt through testing and learning is invaluable.

Test and learn

Website and app experimentation is not just about changing colours or rearranging buttons. It involves a systematic approach to testing hypotheses and implementing changes that could potentially increase engagement, improve user experience, and boost conversions. Techniques like A/B testing, multivariate testing, or even simpler iterative changes are crucial. These methods allow you to see what works—and more importantly, what doesn’t—directly from how real people interact with your business.

Insights into Action

Once failures are identified through experimentation, the next step is optimisation. This process involves using the insights gained from failed experiments to make informed decisions that enhance website functionality and performance. Whether it’s refining the user interface, personalising content, or streamlining the customer journey, each optimisation is a step towards a more lucrative digital presence.

Continuous Improvement

To truly benefit from experimentation and optimisation, businesses must cultivate a culture of continuous improvement. This means not just settling for “good enough” but constantly seeking ways to better meet the needs of your audiences. It’s about embracing the fact that in the digital world, the most successful companies are those that continuously evolve based on user feedback and data-driven insights.

In the race against the bear—or rather, the competition—it’s not about never failing but about failing forward, faster, and more effectively than anyone else. 

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