Have The Cojones To Admit And Share Mistakes

October 26, 2016 by guest author, Mitch Leathers


Guest Post: Luis Villafane, Maler Digital Signage

I don´t like “feel good” business stories when I’m reading social media.

I don’t want to read something that starts out with “Before you die … live” or “What I learned from my hard-working dad …” Put that stuff up, and you’re unfollowed by me pretty quickly.

Luis Villifane

Luis Villifane

It’s not that I’m anti-social … well, not really :-]

I just want to read something with a little grit. I want to hear from real people who had “the cojones” to put in a digital signage installation with the latest everything – bleeding edge all the way – and then confess to how everything went horribly wrong.

I never see that stuff. I never read when a project has failed. Someone should maybe start a blog about dead networks – that spells out who did them and why they failed. So we can all learn from the mistakes.

We exist in this Utopian world of digital signage, where everyone has the greatest everything ready to sell and install. It doesn’t happen on Sixteen:Nine, but just about anything else I read or hear about in this industry is done to the endlessly-looping soundtrack of Everything’s Awesome!

Well, it’s not.

Companies have screwed up. They’re screwing up now. I’VE screwed up.

I made the mistake a long time ago of installing the latest and greatest hard drive for a client. That great plan of mine ended up with a 40% failure rate, because of a byte missing on the communication protocol with the motherboard. It only took two years for the provider to recognize the fault.

I love reading those kinds of stories. I truly enjoy thinking of all of the testing they haven´t done, and how the newest and latest will behave under “abnormal operations.”

Yes, you all know what I am talking about. Abnormal operations is what Digital Signage Artificial Intelligence is all about. A.I. for DS is not to have a smart brain that decides what to play and how to target your advert, but to decide what to do when the system is about to die.

OK, I am kidding.

However, would you install the latest and greatest on a large network rollout? Every time I test and release a new hardware component – regardless whether that’s a panel/PC/camera/beacon/whatever – I get twitchy. Me and my guys try and analyze every aspect, replicate in as much detail the hateful “abnormal operations,” and bring together hardware and software to have a manageable solution. But we really never know if there is another “byte” missing somewhere, that will bite us in the ass.

That’s why we need to share not only the wins, but the losses, in this work. We all need to keep on learning. Learn from the mistakes we have done, learn from every system we have installed. Learn from every network we have deployed, and for every player we have crashed.

And if we can, learn where others have failed to simply make sure we don’t make the same mistake twice.

I like technology. I love to have the latest and greatest in the office. But I like even better to have the “almost latest” and “almost greatest” technology in my production environments. The technology that those guys with the “big cojones” installed last year and had no issues with at all.

But I don’t know that happened … because too many of us just want to share the good, but never the bad or ugly.

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