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Author's profile photo Antonio Maradiaga

Learning from past failures

We tend to share online only our successes and we rarely / never talk about our failures. In reality, we know that not everything we do ends up being a success and that sometimes we need to fail frequently / fast to get closer to our next success. In this blog post, I will share some of my past failures. 

During a long walk last week, I had the opportunity to listen to a podcast discussing the philosopher Emil Cioran and his view on failures. The podcast made me remember how I felt a few months ago when I was browsing the folders / files on an old hard drive. Which got me thinking on various unfinished projects I’ve worked on, past jobs, ideas. I felt quite sad when I realised there were so many “failures” in those folders. That said, what I now know is that I learnt a lot from all those failures. In the end, we are a product of our experiences / failures.

So, how have I failed before / lately:

  • The hard drive mentioned above was full of failed projects: mobile (iOS, Android)/web apps, data collection, APIs and integration projects. Projects that started as ideas, some nearly completed but never published. Also, there were some eBooks I was interested on reading but never managed to read.
  • Once I truncated a very important table from a production database. I thought I was connected to the test environment when in fact I was hitting the production DB. This was disastrous as some data was lost. Fortunately a backup recovered most of it. Great learning experience as I learnt a lot about database security and protecting system access / data.
  • I enjoy very much posting on SAP Community and I haven’t posted much the past couple of months. I can find a bunch of excuses but the truth is that I haven’t dedicated the time required.
  • I was on annual leave the past couple of weeks and before going on that break I set as a goal to read two books and build a web app during that time. I finished a book, barely started reading the second book, and didn’t open my laptop during the time, so zero progress on the web app 😅. Failed achieving this but it gave me time to spend quality time with my loved ones. Time to get bored, get some silence and think. Which is quite important nowadays given how noisy it is -> endless flow of information / news / entertainment / social media.

Not everything has been a failure lately, there’s been exciting bits happening as well (I will not discuss them here as I’ve already shared some through social media channels 😀).

I guess this blog post ticks one of the failures mentioned above 🎉. That being said I’m looking forward to future failures and the experiences / learning I will get from them.

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      Author's profile photo Riley Rainey
      Riley Rainey

      Thanks, Antonio. I enjoyed reading this.  Here's one from me:

      • I was invited to write a chapter for a SAP Press book.  I was wrapping the first draft up while traveling from the U.S. to a convention in Barcelona. While in an airport lounge somewhere along the way, I received a message that my Mac could no longer connect to our corporate network without upgrading to the latest version of Mac OS.  Without thinking, I started the upgrade.  The lounge WiFi turned out to be awful. Bad connectivity interrupted the upgrade process and I was unable to pick it up again before having to depart on my connecting flight. I spent hours with the SAP IT staff at the back room at the show, but to no avail -- the whole disk, including my only copy my work, was lost.  The bright side was that even though I was forced to rewrite the chapter from scratch, the second writing was much clearer and more organized.

      Multiple lessons learned there.

      Author's profile photo Witalij Rudnicki
      Witalij Rudnicki

      Wow, Riley Rainey, that was indeed "the inception" -- one issue forcing the other :-O

      Author's profile photo Witalij Rudnicki
      Witalij Rudnicki

      You brightened my day Antonio Maradiaga, as so many issues of yours sound so familiar 😉

      I prepared 4 books to be read during this summer, and I've read only the first chapter of the first one.

      Yeap, let's learn from our failures and get better!

      Author's profile photo Shashank Mahajan
      Shashank Mahajan

      I love the fact that so many of us share the same experience of messing up the Prod DBs in some way or the other. It was my inability to make it clear to our DB Admins that we need to sync the Pre-Prod DB with the Prod DB, not the other way round. Now it's something me and my peers have a good laugh about when we look back at that mess.


      Author's profile photo Jelena Perfiljeva
      Jelena Perfiljeva

      Thanks for sharing your story!

      Whenever I fly, I download some movies on my iPad to watch on the plane. These are usually long movies and dramas that I probably wouldn't finish watching at home. Normally I have several movies downloaded but last time I forgot and picked only a couple at the last minute. There was one movie that I especially wanted to watch and was looking forward to it.

      Much to my disappointment, it turned out that the movie of choice somehow didn't get downloaded completely and I couldn't open it. So I had to watch one of my "plan B" movies: The Band's Visit 

      Result: it turned out to be one of the most beautiful and touching moves I've ever seen. There was no way I'd sit through it at home because it's very "slow burn", there isn't really much action, just regular human life that is nevertheless mesmerizing. Also, when I got home, I realized that the first-choice move I've actually already watched several years ago and just didn't recognize it from the description. [facepalm]