Todd Dewett – How the Pain of Failure Can Inspire You to Become an Expert


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By Dr. Andrew Stotz. Discovered by Player FM and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not Player FM, and audio is streamed directly from their servers. Hit the Subscribe button to track updates in Player FM, or paste the feed URL into other podcast apps.

Dr. Todd Dewett is a best-selling leadership author, educator, and professional speaker. After beginning his career with Andersen Consulting and Ernst & Young, he completed his Ph.D. in Organizational Behavior at Texas A&M University and enjoyed a career as an award-winning professor.

Today he speaks, writes, coaches, and has created an educational library of courses at LinkedIn Learning that is enjoyed by millions of professionals in nearly every country in the world. Visit him online at

“Hard work always pays, but it’s not always in money. Sometimes it’s in growth and learning, and sometimes that ends up making you more money in the long term.”

Todd Dewett

Worst investment ever

The successful young professor

Todd was a young professor teaching classes and writing papers. His little fledging side career of speaking at conferences started to grow. Todd was getting more and more calls to speak at conferences. He was now feeling happy, grateful, and entirely too full of himself.

Jumping on a trend

Todd was doing an ancient podcast back then when no one was doing them when he noticed an obvious trend or what he thought was an obvious trend. He noticed that that microlearning, shorter focused videos from YouTube were becoming popular.

Todd kept getting feedback from students and people in the community and businesses about his talks. And so he figured well if he’s that good, then people would pay for his advice.

Investing his inheritance

Todd’s mother, unfortunately, passed and left him a small amount of money. He decided to do something he’d been thinking about for several years at that point, which was launching a business to monetize the advice he loved to give. And so he jumped onto the micro-video trend.

Todd hired a video director who came with a lighting person and a hair and makeup person. Todd wrote scripts for over 100 initial mini-courses, three to five-minute advice oriented bits that he was going to do. Then he scouted the city where he lived, got 10 different locations, and started shooting the videos.

Lights, cameras

Todd was having a blast creating this database. He also hired a firm to build a subscription-based website in readiness for all the people he knew who would love his videos and pay top dollar, no doubt.

And so he took over $100,000 and created all of this content over many hours, working alone to write and working with his team to shoot videos, have them edited, and loaded onto the website.


The day to launch the videos finally came. Todd hit up his list and told them the videos were live. He went onto social media and made a huge announcement. Then he waited for the money to start rolling in. Crickets chirped.

On the first day, only two people signed up. Then one person the next day. That’s almost all he ever got. Todd called his clients, and they said they were not sure the videos were what they needed. He heard many other statements about why the videos weren’t the right thing for so and so.

Admitting he had failed

Todd had this beautiful product. He had told so many people about it publicly through every microphone he could get his hands on, but no one cared.

Six or seven months into this, Todd made a public announcement that this thing he was so proud of working very hard on and that had cost him more than any single investment he’d ever made in his entire life, was an absolute failure. He admitted that it was indeed his worst investment ever. It didn’t come close to breakeven; frankly, it just failed.

Lessons learned

To become an expert, you must learn

Don’t be blinded by what you know, and thus less capable of seeing what you should learn. At the very least, build a team to help you understand what you don’t know. To become an expert, talk to smart people who know what you don’t and build a team that knows things you don’t.

Andrew’s takeaways

It’s not only about the content

Success in business is not only about your content. It is also about how good you are and, most importantly, how good your relationships are.

Hard work pays

Hard work pays eventually. It may be one year or six years or even 10 years later, but hard work pays.

Turn your losses into your winners

In every loss and mistake is the seed of your next stage of growth.

Actionable advice

To become an expert in what you do, find someone who has traveled the road you want to travel, and ask them what they learned so that you can learn from all of their mistakes and successes.

Please share some of that wisdom. Don’t assume you understand what’s about to happen; just find someone who’s done it before. They will save you a ton of heartache and money.

Parting words

“Listen to this podcast and take it personally. When you fail, learn something, then go share it with somebody.”

Todd Dewett


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