Friday, April 26, 2013

Meta Friday - a discussion of a MBank post spurs thoughts on revealing mistakes

A discussion started yesterday over at Regretsy Forums, a site where people share gripes with Etsy products, vendors, life in general, and, sometimes, about issues they have with Etsy, the online crafts marketplace. The subject of the discussion ("I know why Etsy screws up so much" - free registration required) was a Mistake Bank post entitled "Etsy CEO on the Three-Armed Sweater Award for Spectacular Mistakes." One of the Chad Dickerson quotes featured from tabby, who started the discussion was this: "We have 100 engineers, and any single engineer can deploy code to the live site at any time. It happens about 30 times a day."

This prompted 26 replies and counter-replies, many of which echoed this theme from whiskeyish:

That's been discussed pretty heavily here before. I sound like a broken record when I say "the ship-it mentality is killing even the established companies, because they run it like a broken-ass startup with no consequences to the end users."

It's a fascinating conversation that to me illuminates two important points:

1) Etsy, assuming they still deploy live code to the site, may want to consider if they've grown too big for this kind of "broken-ass startup" approach to change management (or as Dickerson himself puts it: "embody(ing) the hacker spirit"). A fair number of their users seem to think so.

2) Discussing mistakes openly will subject you to derision. You need fortitude, self-confidence, and the ability to tune out the chatter - without losing important lessons you need to hear, even if unpleasant (see item #1).

Good stuff to think about on a Friday.

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