Your reputation is a series of promises. If you’re someone who keeps promises, you’ll be recommended and admired. If you’re someone who sets expectations too high and disappoints, the picture might look different.
It’s okay to say “this might not work” along the way. People like experiments. If you claimed your new thing would change the world before anyone ever used it, people might see you as a lunatic. But, if you say “I’m not sure this will work, but if it does, it would be amazing.” That’s a promise people can get behind. There’s a path that incorporates preserving reputation while taking risk at the same time.
That’s what Seth Godin has done. Slowly building his way to more disruptive models for education. Scaling up the impact every step of the way. Project after project that might not work.