Trial and Error and Succeed

If you have children, watched children, or watched adults who act like children, you have discovered that trial and error is how they learn. They speed run the mistakes of the past no matter what you tell them in a crazy attempt at a different outcome. To be clear, sometimes previous mistakes were not mistakes but experiments...bias creeps in on determining what failed and how it it is fair to revisit previous outcomes. But poking yourself with a sharpened pencil repeatedly is plain foolishness, no matter how you slice it.

So I am definitely not advocating that the foolish kind of Trial and Error is the most brilliant strategy when simple research of a subject or feedback gathering from those more experienced can quickly reduce the number of mistakes. But, when building complex systems or pushing the envelope on what has been done before, you are now delving into the realm of "nobody has tried this," "no one is willing to admit they tried this," or "no one made it out alive to tell the tale." This is where "Trial and Error" becomes your friend or enemy, depending on your approach. If you approach it as an opportunity to learn, grow and iterate, then it is a series of experiments along the lines of great research. This takes some rigor, due diligence, but mostly a sense of adventure and obsession that makes you leave no stone unturned. Searching out knowledge, gathering learnings, and not giving up. That is Success.

Unless you do it publicly that takes down an enterprise application, then that is a complete failure...but that failure isn't the apparent failure of someone who screwed up and deployed an experiment directly to production. It is a failure in providing the correct tools for experiments, a failure in providing the time to experiment, and/or not teaching how to experiment. So go forth...Trial and Error and Succeed...just do a bit of research beforehand. You can thank me later.

Future posts diving deeper into Trial and Error:
The Hallmark of a Great Organization is Safety in Failure.
Your Users Trial and Error Your System...And They Are Always Correct Even When They Are Wrong
You Are A Lousy User Of Your System Even Though You Built It
(if you made it this far you deserve a cookie)

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