The news over the weekend that Google had an issue with their Internet search engine shouldn’t be that shocking to those of us in the technology industry. Some of the best beer swapping stories for techies are centered around the whoopsies in production; assuming they weren’t ours of course. I went so far as to TRY to spin my worst mistake (that I know of) into a positive during past job interviews as examples of…well, it’s been a while since I did that but it must have exemplified something and was definitely reframed!
So for 55 minutes, every search result from Google showed a message of “This site may harm your computer…”. Now for those of you excited to bash on Google remember not to live in a glass house. Everyone makes mistakes. A huge market cap, wonderful talent, and great rigor is no match for the inevitability of mistakes. What matters is what you do after wards in response and prevention.
My big mistake feels like a lifetime ago and trivial upon reflection. I was writing a COM+ mass mailer to be licensed to our clients at some ROI inducing prices. Our clients were local state agencies, boat manufacturers, huge multi-nationals; the typical slice you had at web development shops in 2000. My big ‘glitch’ was having allowed a campaign to fire twice via web submission and that’s what I did. I sent two emails to 10,000 people rather than just one. This was a big deal because ALL the recipients had opted-in to the list and that is such a tightrope with email marketing.
After seeing what I did in a .1 microseconds while uttering a slow motioned recital of “oh no” I acted by rushing back to the boss, doing damage control, putting in Jake prevention, and followed it up by working my arse off to add some new wiz bang feature for distraction purposes.
Now its all junk mail anyway! Hey, at least I wasn’t I once worked with who accidentally gave away a John Deere lawn tractor!