Last week in failure

Who failed this week? Why? What can we do about it.

Avoiding any obvious barbs directed towards any obvious political pond-scum, we have to say that Zuckerberg and friends top our list. Also an interesting idea about how to move companies quickly through the failure process as needed, who the hell knows what’s going on with those Apple and Amazon motherboards, and the Opportunity Rover is still unresponsive on Mars.

  • “The life cycle of the innovation economy—from angel rounds, to accelerators and seed rounds, to Series A, B, C and exit—is missing one key element: failure.”
    This is an interesting idea: “Decelerators” to help wind up failed or failing businesses in the neatest way possible and to help the people involved move on to something more productive.
    (@ The Logic)
  • By the time you read this, the Chinese system board infiltration story will be three days old. The Register had a good take on where things stood on Thursday. But no matter how you cut it there was a failure somewhere, and certainly a large one.
    The bigger question, I think, which needs to be asked regardless of whether this particular allegation is true, is whether it is a good practice to manufacture things in places where the manufacturing can’t be easily supervised or controlled, and where it might potentially be subject to political or criminal interference. Maybe it’s OK if you’re making lead-contaminated childrens’ toys, but for high-security devices? Probably not.
    This would seem to be asking for failure. Eventually it’s going to happen and the costs are potentially catastrophic.
    (@ Bloomberg and The Register, and really all over the internet)
  • Facebook has been very much a dumpster-fire. Last week we found that numbers provided for two-factor authentication were turned over to the marketing team even if they weren’t provided as contact numbers anywhere else. More recently, it seems that about 90m users including me had their access tokens compromised.
    Further proof that “move fast and break things” may be a good way to build a new company, but that at scale the things that get broken really impact people’s lives and when that happens the people in question tend to do things like sue, or perhaps just learn to live without your crappy spyware. No question this one is a fail.
    (@ The Register)
  • The Mars Opportunity Rover is still incommunicado. If not heard from in the next month or so, NASA is going to mostly move on and only passively listen. While it may seem like a failure, it’s worth remembering that it was expected to last 90 days, and has lasted more than 5000. It’ll be sad if it’s gone, but at some level that’s the kind of failure we can live with!
  • Also on Mars, the Curiosity Rover is getting a brain transplant. Or at least switching to an alternate brain. Nice planning to have an alternate in place.
    (@ CNET)
  • Musk continues to be Musk. In a previous life I was very involved in markets. I always found that when a CEO spent any amount of time complaining about short sellers, bad analyst coverage, or any other types of routine negative PR that public companies face from time to time, that it’s time to sell. Effective leaders move forward, solve their problems and let the results speak for themselves. There can be some exceptions, but that’s the rule. I wouldn’t short Tesla right now because it’s just too much of a battleground, but if I had owned it, I would have taken profits.
    (@ Bloomberg)
  • A great perspective:
    “Rather than failure being the opposite of success, it is part of the process. If we adopt this belief, we will begin to see all of our “failures” in a positive light.”
    (@ Maine Public Radio)
  • “People and the organizations they generate tend to find out what doesn’t work – and to do it harder.”
    I don’t have an opinion about what does and doesn’t work in radio, because I haven’t actually listened to radio in years. But this line is a perfect description of how failure can take over your life if you don’t stop, examine what happened, and move on appropriately rather than doubling down
    Don’t do that please.
    (@ RadioInk)
  • A fantastic thread about why trying to filter for bad language in emails is an exercise in futility and an invitation to all sorts of failure. From the company office that was deleted from the database because of its location in Scuntthorpe, UK (a major British Steel location, so someplace that you might not want to ignore), to the company that lost half its customer emails because “MSExchange” in the email header was blocked, or the vendor who couldn’t get permission to ship a part because it was legitimately called a “vibrator.” Be sure to peruse all the branches. A myriad of ways to fail, but all come down to the one, which is that using technology to solve human problems rarely works.
    (@SwiftOnSecurity @ Twitter)