Lessons of Failure
Humans + Software Development = Always Interesting

Oct/09

15

Fail Fast, Learn Quickly

Welcome to Lessons of Failure.  If you were looking for another blog about Dot Com Bazillionaires running around in limos post-IPO, well, sorry.  Try Google for someone else.  That’s not me.

I’ve spent the better part of two decades now as a professional computer geek (even longer as a rank amateur) and if there’s one thing I know about by now, it’s failure.  Everything from small fuse-popping, whoops-don’t-put-120V-on-an-electrolytic-capacitor failure, to Holy Sh*t! Dad-is-gonna-KILL-us-when-he-finds-out-about-this failure.

My background as a consultant gives me a unique perspective in the software industry.  Sort of like a bystander during an auto accident.  Or walking into the back of a bar mitzvah in a hotel.  You’re there, but at the same time, you’re also divested of the outcome to a certain degree.  Oh sure, you want success because it also happens to improve your chance of renewal at contract expiration time.  But when the company suddenly transforms into a smoking crater, you’re still standing on the side covered in a bit of soot, unlike your coworkers that are now atomized.  And hopefully a bit wiser, assuming you paid attention before the bomb went off.

Everyone knows the famous quote by George Santayana:

“Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it”

And that’s what this blog is about…learning from failure.  Personal failure (like divorces).  Industry failure (like the dot-com bust).  Company failure (like Enron).  Learn or repeat.  Easy to say.  Hard to practice.

Having failed to learn a few times and, ahem, received a chance to repeat the mistake, this blog will explore failure on all those levels and more.  Fail fast, fail often, but for heaven’s sake, at least learn something.

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