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Looking under the rug: the art of learning from failure

Looking under the rug: the art of learning from failure

The tech industry has a longtime history of cultivating heroes and epic stories of success. “Look how this tiny startup became an industry giant!”, “Did you hear Joe just got his dream job?”, “Learn how to ship amazing projects to production in no time!”. We’ve all heard stories like these and they are indeed very inspiring, but how come no one is talking about the ugly parts? Why aren’t stories of things that didn’t work out more common in tech? Why aren’t we more transparent about our experiences and what we learned from them?

In this talk, I’ll go through all the lessons I took from failing miserably at a software project, how that made me a much better developer and the importance of failure in the career of a software engineer.

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Isabella Silveira

September 27, 2019
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Transcript

  1. Looking under the rug The art of learning from failure

    @silveira_bells
  2. What is your worst fear?

  3. None
  4. 67K+ students

  5. ~15K employees

  6. mysql> SHOW DATABASES; +———————————+ | Database | +———————————+ | information_schema

    | | mysql | | […] | | sys | | employees | +———————————+ 7 rows in set (0.01 sec)
  7. DELETE FROM employees WHERE salary = 0

  8. DELETE FROM employees

  9. DELETE FROM employees

  10. ~15K employee records completely gone

  11. Names, bank info, addresses, you name it

  12. That definitely felt like doom

  13. None
  14. But it wasn’t

  15. None
  16. Isa Silveira @silveira_bells Mozilla Tech Speaker Software engineer @iZettle *But

    also a proud Brazilian, math freak and karaoke star
  17. Isa Silveira @silveira_bells Mozilla Tech Speaker Software engineer @iZettle *But

    also a proud Brazilian, math freak and karaoke star
  18. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rS2HYJKndRc

  19. So why do we fear failing?

  20. Fear of shame

  21. Self-sabotage

  22. Impostor syndrome

  23. No learning

  24. No learning No evolution

  25. No learning No evolution No innovation

  26. None
  27. None
  28. “Even though Traf-O-Data wasn't a roaring success, it was seminal

    in preparing us to make Microsoft's first product a couple of years later.” — Paul Allen
  29. 1. Improves confidence 2. Generates tons of learnings 3. Could

    lead to "happy accidents" 4. Faster recovery from future mistakes The perks of failing horribly:
  30. 1. Improves confidence 2. Generates tons of learnings 3. Could

    lead to "happy accidents" 4. Faster recovery from future mistakes The perks of failing horribly:
  31. 1. Improves confidence 2. Generates tons of learnings 3. Could

    lead to "happy accidents" 4. Faster recovery from future mistakes The perks of failing horribly:
  32. 1. Improves confidence 2. Generates tons of learnings 3. Could

    lead to "happy accidents" 4. Faster recovery from future mistakes The perks of failing horribly:
  33. Be transparent about mistakes you make and accept the mistakes

    of others
  34. Vulnerability is key

  35. None
  36. “[…] getting fired from Apple was the best thing that

    could have ever happened to me. The heaviness of being successful was replaced by the lightness of being a beginner again, less sure about everything. It freed me to enter one of the most creative periods of my life.” — Steve Jobs
  37. The beginner’s guide of Fuckup Recovery

  38. 1. Breathe 2. Create an action plan 3. Establish preventive

    measures 4. Revisit goals 5. Repeat cycle
  39. 1. Breathe 2. Create an action plan 3. Establish preventive

    measures 4. Revisit goals 5. Repeat cycle
  40. 1. Breathe 2. Create an action plan 3. Establish preventive

    measures 4. Revisit goals 5. Repeat cycle
  41. 1. Breathe 2. Create an action plan 3. Establish preventive

    measures 4. Revisit goals 5. Repeat cycle
  42. 1. Breathe 2. Create an action plan 3. Establish preventive

    measures 4. Revisit goals 5. Repeat cycle
  43. None
  44. “Why would I feel like a failure? And why would

    I ever give up? I now know definitely over 9,000 ways an electric lightbulb will not work. Success is almost in my grasp.” — Thomas Edison
  45. Generated by CertificateMagic.com Certificate of Achievement Presented to You For

    being a fuckup expert 27 September 2019
  46. Celebrate your failures and what you learned from them

  47. “It is not the critic who counts; not the man

    who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.” — Theodore Roosevelt
  48. Köszönöm! ❤ @silveira_bells @silveira_bells