TODAY

TODAY   |  April 25, 2013

How to succeed by embracing your mistakes

Career expert Kate White and entrepreneur Kavita Shukla reveal that many inventions, from penicillin to chocolate chip cookies and the Slinky, were actually created by mistake. They say you can become a successful entrepreneur by embracing your errors and taking risks.

Share This:

This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> whether it's post-it notes, silly putty or chocolate chip cookies , don't you wish you would have thought of those things first?

>> it turns out some of the everyday products we cannot live without were discovered by accident. iry day inventions, those sometimes wacky, often invaluable products that we couldn't imagine life without -- it turns out many of them began as a mistake. take ruth wakefield , the owner of the tollhouse inn ran short of ingredients for her cookies in 1930 , she figure she'd could use little bits of chocolate instead. tada, the chocolate chip cookie was born.

>> a spring, a spring, a marvelous thing.

>> slinky, richard jones was an engineer working on the tension springs of navy ships until one slinked away.

>> if you pull it, it will go forever.

>> from silly putty to artificial sweeteners, to potato chips to penicillin all were the result of accidental genius.

>> kate white a career expert and author of "i shouldn't be telling you this" the success secrets every gutsy girl should know.

>> and kaskaveda shupra is an entrepreneur and the inventor of fresh paper.

>> and this is your product, tell us about this one.

>> it's just a simple little piece of paper. and you just drop this in your refrigerator drawer, anywhere you keep produce, it will keep it fresh for two to four times longer. it's made only with organic spices and based on a home remedy that my grandma in india gave me. when i was in middle school , i accidentally drank some tap water while brushing my teeth. and she gave me this like murky brown mixture she made in her kitchen, like spiced tea and i drank it and i didn't get sick so i started a middle school science project .

>> do you make a lot of money off this?

>> i originally designed it for the developing world because i felt like it could really transform the lives.

>> yes.

>> people like my grandma. but then you know i really struggled to get it to people as a nonprofit. so about a year and a half ago i started going to local farmers' markets in cambridge and i set up a stall.

>> let's talk about other things, kate, the tollhouse cookies , that's a great one.

>> let's enjoy one while we're talking.

>> i love it that you have it on the tape. but ruth wakefield , she didn't have baker's chocolate and she wanted to make chocolate cookies, so she put in some nestle's pieces that she had. and nirvana. a customer kept sending his potatoes back. not fried enough. so the cook got irritated so he sliced the potatoes really thin, fried to within inches of their lives, and the guy loved them and they started appearing on the menu and the word spread.

>> and post-it notes?

>> they came from 3m. a scientist discovered some glue that wasn't very sticky. know guy used it on paper to mark the pages in his hymn book and they realized we got something here.

>> how can person take something that's they've just been doing forever, it's hanging around the house and turn that into a million-dollar business?

>> i think you have to let your mind snag on things and say, what can i do with this. the guy who invented velcro got the idea from burs on his pants legs. and you also have to embrace your mistakes. we're told to -- move away from it, put it behind you. but if you look at mistakes, sometimes you see hey, there was one thing there that work and how can you go big with it.

>> these are all great.

>> what advice would you give people?

>> i think it's important to think simple and to think about applications that you could never have thought of. now we sell fresh paper, for every pack we sell, we donate to a local food bank and we're trying to get it to farmers in developing world .