Failing forward: How fail fast helped us succeed and why it matters

May 19, 2023
The DX Team
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Remember learning how to ride a bike? It may have been a long time ago for some of us, but it’s an experience none of us has forgotten. It stays ingrained in our memories.

We remember it because we fell many times before we finally learned to keep our balance while pedaling across the parking lot. The faster we fell, the faster we learned how not to fall.

At DX, we believe that when it comes to product development, the story doesn’t change.

We embrace continuous development of our product, and failing fast is an inherent part of this process. We believe that it's essential to identify gaps in our product development process quickly, understand why we failed, and continuously adapt and improve. 

To us, the Fail Fast philosophy is not just about failing quickly. It's about learning from our failures and adapting to improve our chances of success in the future. 

Today, we want to share more of this philosophy with you.


Because we want to give you a transparent look into how our product was built and what we’re doing to create the best possible solution for your cinema.

Fail fast, fail often in the heart of our DX culture

If you aren’t familiar with it, the Fail Fast, Fail Often is a key principle in Agile methodology, and it means just that: fail quickly and frequently.

The Fail Fast mentality encourages small failures, which allow the company to find out what's not working and course-correct rather than blindly following the pre-determined path that may lead to a costly failure down the line.

With this approach, a company is able to pivot and adapt strategies swiftly, creating a better product faster. By continuously learning from failures, the team can develop more innovative products, the company can raise more capital, file more patents, and achieve greater scientific milestones than those who are afraid to fail.

We’re not the ones saying it - research is

In traditional corporate culture, failure has often been stigmatized and discouraged. Implementing the Fail Fast culture means reframing failure as something positive. It means encouraging employees to run towards it rather than away from it.

That’s what we’re doing at DX. We’re building a culture that encourages our team members to openly discuss their failures without feeling defeated.

We know that the path to success is paved with failures - we can’t build an excellent product unless we’ve tested what works and what doesn’t.

It’s a process of constant improvement upon our mistakes and setbacks, so we take an iterative approach to product development. We start by launching our products in beta and rapidly prototyping to make small but meaningful tweaks that allow us to identify and address issues faster than our competitors.

As a company and as humans, we’re in a constant state of change and transformation. 

By embracing the Fail Fast philosophy, we create a company-wide mindset that values progress over perfection and provides valuable experiences for us to build on and learn from.

Everything at DX is in a constant state of improvement - from our product to our brand voice. We never hesitate to take risks, experiment, and push the boundaries of innovation.

How we apply the Fail Fast philosophy to multiple facets of DX

From the beginning, DX has been focused on the “great today, better tomorrow” philosophy. When we made the decision to become a remote-first and English-first company, our CEO, Martin Berg, and CTO, Christian S., were the driving forces that led us through this transition. 

They introduced us to the Fail Fast philosophy, which has since become instrumental in helping us through these transitions. It has become a philosophy we live and breathe by. 

Today, we apply it to all areas of our company, from product development to marketing. Here’s how it has helped us grow. 

It helped us make a considerable shift in building our product

Going from a 25-year-old legacy technology to a brand new product built for the cloud, in the cloud, has required a mindset shift. Even with 25 years of experience, we still radiate the energy of a young start-up. 

That’s why we couldn’t do things the old way - expecting perfection and running away from taking risks. We’ve had to accept that failure is an inherent part of the process. There’s no way around it.

After 18 months of R&D and testing different methods, we’ve now settled on using the Shape Up process, which we feel is working well for us. But who knows? We could be wrong again. We might fail and have to pivot again. But that’s ok - we understand that failure is just a stepping stone to progress.

It helped us build a remote-first culture

We weren’t always a remote-first company, but we needed to restructure the way we operated to keep up with technology and build a better DX

We encountered many roadblocks and setbacks throughout our journey to establish a thriving remote-first culture at DX. However, we knew that the Fail Fast principle applied not only to product development but also to how we work together as a team.

We tried different routes and kept making course corrections until we found the right one. We changed how we presented our OKRs several times during that time. It was challenging, but we persisted, and it paid off!

The last approach we took seems to have stuck with the teams. They report feeling happy and motivated, with clear goals to work towards.

The Fail Fast mindset taught us that we needed to try different approaches to find the right one. As they say, Rome wasn't built in a day - and neither was DX.

It allowed us to fine-tune our sales approach

Sometimes, things don’t go according to plan.

We learned this the hard way by failing to achieve the goal we have set for ourselves. We planned to sign a customer by June 2022, but we quickly realized that it wasn’t the best fit for the new market we were entering with our new cloud product

So instead of blindly pushing forward, we made the tough decision to encourage the customer to select a different partner. It wasn't an easy decision, but it was the right one.

Thanks to our Fail Fast mindset, we didn’t let this setback defeat us. Instead, we fine-tuned our sales approach. 

Soon after this initial failure, we signed two small Swedish cinemas. This allowed us to put our best foot forward in this new market and receive market input while adapting to local regulations.

What’s next for DX?

We don’t see failure as something negative. We see it as an opportunity. And that's what makes the Fail Fast philosophy so valuable to us.

So, we’ll continue to apply this mindset to all aspects of our company - from product development to team collaboration. And while it may sound completely counterintuitive, we’re happy to fail because we know that each failure brings us one step closer to success.

The faster we fail, the faster we learn how not to fail.

As we continue to develop our product and enter new markets, we want to be even more transparent with our customers about our journey.

We want you to be with us for all of it: the successes, the failures, and the in-between.

If you want to learn more about our plans and discover articles about the cinema industry, subscribe to our newsletter:

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