• James Walton

WD-40 and the Power of Persistence

Stopping squeaks is a wildly unsexy business problem to solve, but WD-40 does it better than anyone, and has the stock price to prove it.

The name WD-40 stands for Water Displacement, 40th formula. A team of chemists in San Diego in the 1950s were trying to keep NASA's rockets from rusting. Attempt after attempt was made to create a substance that displace water, preventing rust. 10, 20, 30, 39 tries were made. Finally, on the 40th attempt, the work coalesced into the formula that's still used today to create WD-40. Two lessons on this:

  1. If you're trying something new, it won't be perfect the first time.

  2. Don't quit.

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