Failures are just lessons. Sometimes costly, though….

What would you do if your employee caused a significant damage costing $20,000? 💰

This is what happened to us a few years ago…

There’s a well-known urban legend in the business world about a manager who makes a mistake and loses an impressive $10 million. 😱

He dejectedly goes into the office the next day and starts packing up his desk, and when he gets the inevitable “the CEO wants to see you in his office” call, he trudges into the CEO’s office and quietly slides a piece of paper across the desk.

What’s this?” asks the CEO.

My resignation,” says the executive. “I assume you called me in here to fire me.

Fire you?” responds the CEO, incredulously. “Why would I fire you? I just spent $10 million training you!

It’s an extreme story, to be sure, but the CEO in this story understands that firing the executive wouldn’t undo the $10 million loss, and it would compound it by losing a valuable executive who he can be very sure won’t make that kind of mistake again. 🤔

At MDB one of our mottos is that “if you’re not failing now and then, you’re not being innovative enough or taking enough risks.” 🚀

A few years back, one of our developers deployed a new module just before Black Friday, which is one of the most important sales times of the year. The module was supposed to adjust price, currency, and discount depending on geolocation. 🌐

Apparently, it wasn’t tested enough because when Black Friday came, our support became overloaded with people reporting that they couldn’t place the order because of… wrong currency. 💸

6 hours later, we managed to fix the issue. We also tried to recover as many failed orders as possible, but based on historical data, this issue cost us somewhere between $10-20k. 😞

We were obviously angry and frustrated, but not with the developer but with ourselves. It was our fault that we didn’t design our quality assurance process to exclude or minimize the possibility of human errors. 🤦

I always say that failures are (sometimes very) costly lessons that others couldn’t afford. This was one of them, which made our processes better, and looking at it now, a few years later, I am super happy that we learned it then and not now when the company is several times bigger… 📈


None of the developers were harmed after the incident! 😄 The one who made the mistake in the code still works at the company to this day. 👍


Dawid Adach

Co-Founder @ / Forbes 30 under 30 / EO'er

For years I've been working as an IT Consultant in countries like Netherlands, Belgium, Poland or India developing enterprise class systems for the biggest companies within domain.

Since 2016 I'm co-founder of - world class UI Framework used by NASA, Amazon, Nike, Airbus, Samsung, Apple and many other Fortune 500 Companies.

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