Fail quickly

I once heard a speaker at a conference boast that her company was set up to “fail quickly”, the idea being that it was ready to experiment with different approaches but didn’t allow itself to expend more time than necessary on strategies that clearly weren’t working.

Well nobody – NOBODY – can fail faster than me. I usually fail more or less instantly, and I have been known on occasion to fail in an enterprise before even embarking on it.

This cartoon is a solid example of a failure, and since I do all my cartoons very quickly- because my vital services as a wiper and tidier and shouter-at are generally needed elsewhere – it was a mercifully fast failure.

I had the idea while I was tidying up. Nothing encapsulates the experience of tidying a house while it has children in it better than this brilliant sight gag in The Simpsons, but an analogy came to me so I thought I’d put it down. Here.


This cartoon is supposed to be getting across the idea that tidying up after children is like using chopsticks to pick up tiny objects more slowly than they are being emptied onto the ground. It’s frustrating, in other words.

The problem with this cartoon, which I appreciated the moment I had finished it, is that the man is using chopsticks to pick up rice, which naturally makes you think he’s going to eat it.

I briefly considered marbles, but decided that they would be too much trouble to draw, though evidently I also decided that rice was too difficult to draw clearly because I put ‘RICE’ on the side of the truck.

In hindsight it wouldn’t have been much trouble to draw little circles and write ‘MARBLES’ on the side of the truck, but judgement tends to suffer in the breakneck world of speed cartooning.

Plus I’m not very good at it.





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