The Failure story
The Failure Story
It is a mundane writing and any resemblance to working or retired may be a coincidence because experiences like this are common. I take pride in speaking up so that all those failing in career, life feel some hope. It's not your fault. We are designed to fail. We are plenty and not alone. Failure must be celebrated. Is there a day for "Fail"? We must petition the president to declare a weekend day , so that Failure never makes us happy but still acknowledged.
It's Irony that , everybody wants success , dreams success and most often land up as "Failure". For some random reason, true success is orphan and still we have loads of literature, motivational talks for "Success" while the majority (Failures) don't have any motivation.
This write up to fill the gap. Bring some order to failure and make amendments to history and get orphaned "success" a company (it's a wild dream of me to "Fail the failure" that there are more successes).
I would list out few cases here. If it resembles to you or someone you know , it could be because , "Failure" is common and multiple instances.
Zillion to one...
We are born to failure. Did you know there are zillions of sperms and only one made it success and you and me are examples of it. What happened to the rest? Did we get to read obituary?. that's a start, Failure is majority and success is minority.
Too much of nothing..
Let's take an X company, they start a new product idea , They make network switches and got solid customers and made so much money. So they want to compete with new paradigm of software defined networking. They want to build SOLID product competing Google, Facebook.. (yah for some random reasons these companies do so many random things while world sees them only for couple of products).
They form a team, a super smart team. They want to figure out best tech stack. Follow best practices. Team works on couple of months to figure out which unit testing frame work is good and which http library should be used and what is the performance of each library. We are still talking about unit testing of APIs (you may counter it, it's integration testing). Each team member is given a library to analyze and report progress. The more they learn about it more "creative" questions are asked and it's like, wow, we are the best of the breed kind of situation.
You see, "Failure" is so hard, we have to work so hard to fail. Some idiots claim failures are accidents but it's otherwise. Everybody does everything to fail. "Success" is accident, and rare things are always cherished
Back to the story , after spending too many months, team gets back to do something real and because of all the hard work and preferences like all are java or C but since our research shows "python" framework is good, we build integration tests in that. We got everything covered..
Meanwhile company results are lukewarm and Decisions are made to ramp down initiatives. It could have been an accident and success had it been, all those smart brains worked on actually building something from day 1 making it success.
Let's call this as company D.
Mr D who got some money from random sources and believes he got superest brain in the universe started a company. He believes in protecting the IP of the company that the cubicles in his company are true to the spirit of the company 6ft solid sound proof cubicles. Please dont think this is rare. If anyone deviates , he/she gets fired, anyone questions , fired , anyone thinks creative , fired ("How dare he/she is to think creative without my permission?").
and the story goes on as long as there is money and yah it ends there. See it is so hard to be failure. It takes lot of hard work, perseverance until the last penny to fail
Let me hire someone to do that (my) Job
Let's extend Mr D company, They did make a super cool product (yah an accident, They hired a consulting company to build it and sadly they did it). They built a great marketing team and poor eng manager /architect /product owner, goes to them (They were supposed to be the end customer ) with some questions , the answer, "Let me hire someone to find it out". Oh no that's a sales question , let me talk to Mr D to form a sales team...
As an accident product is built , a big party is organized. The plant died when it is out of water.
You see, how hard it to be a Failure?
Shutdown the sun, it's too bright.
Let's change company name to C.
They built a time tested product let's call it as T, with growth came up with challenges and customer demands. Integrations are been a pain. Takes a week to load millions of records , any mismatch , another week to load again. Someone who is been in the company and now heads engineering saw a pattern and thought, how about building a baby product to pre process data and help the situation , scouts for people with experience I similar domain, and find Mr "I" and contract the work to his company E. He puts together a team and do a POC and everybody is happy, so zygote for the baby product is formed. as the baby was nurturing, anchor customer starts using it, Mr I thought , these integrations are a mess and the baby is doing everything else and why can not we make the main product functionality into the baby product, everybody questions, it's a taboo topic, how can you think like that?. Mr I had gut feeling that it is the best thing to do, spends few extra nights to build a POC for main functionality into Baby. keeps presenting it and some day someone says , "what ever" as long as it does "main" thing.. Mr I is super happy, works with team to make a full blown product. The Baby starts walking, running and looks promising , we get couple of other customers onboarded. Mr I was able to meditate and get the database being used to build the Baby acquired. We own the database and got brand new product , which has all new UX standards. Guess what , it is too bright. Change in management , and they couldn't take it. Population growth is not good. Let's kill the baby so that we can feed the adult product maintenance. Legal and sales teams come into play. Negotiate with customers , couple of them are happy with the money back and one likes it so much that they want to continue with use of product.
Fish out of water
Let us take Mr X, a goal oriented Task master, he builds his weather proof team and does amazing things. Lets say he could be a super hero in a startup environment, lets not make it easy, Lets put him into a big corporate.
Higher management doesn't like him for what he is (who likes anyone better than them?), he is odd man out.
What will they do? create as many hurdles as possible, the worst, take him out of his role and ask him to be an individual contributor.
It is like "Fishing him out of water", will he survive? What if he is not a fish and actually thrives? Either case, there is more to lose and less to win and that's failure needs a better narration.
The Future of the Failure is bleak. The Future company Z, has all great components. It has product managers who do not know how product works or intended. It has management who just wants "Yes" boss as response and establish an informal Radio where management speaks and everyone below listen and suffer. Surveys are a farse. Engineers (who ever is left out of love of product , fear their career so they try to find creative ways of making fixes and features without management being aware of and when caught by mgmt. , promise not to do anything like that again but often fail to keep the promise. If a manager tries to drive initiatives he gets pulled up in key meetings.
Management decides to reorg every few months so that entropy is high and we never focus on the product. introduce as many interim non product initiatives as part of a "Get Unwell" plan and ask engineers finish them anyone who speaks up are punished.
As we see from all these instances , "Failure" needs lot of hard work and a systematic design as much as it takes a lot of effort to make planets aligned and moving. Please do not look down at Failure, appreciate them because they are your colleagues.