Open Insights 38: Are You Fast Failing


Issue 38 – Are You Fast Failing?

November 1, 2007

by Sean Hull

It’s now the end of our third year publishing the Open Insights newsletter. We thought we’d celebrate by relaunching our popular blog Oracle + Open Source.  The design is new, there’s a lot more content, things are easier to find, and overall it is indexing great on Google, even better!

Like what you see here? Forward us to a friend. And let us know if you have any suggestions or comments. They are always welcome.

In This Issue:

1. Feature: Are You Fast Failing?

2. Conferences/Speaking

3. New Articles

4. Audio Interviews

5. Current Reading

6. Lightweight Humor

7. Miscellaneous

8. Past Issues

9. Technical Articles

10. About Heavyweight Internet Group

1. Feature: Are you Fast Failing?

That term, fast failing, it has a sort of counterintuitive feel to it.  If your failing, why would you want to do it quickly.  Then again, that’s why new terms and concepts catch on, it is how a new meme makes the rounds.

The term fast fail seems to have worked it’s way into management and innovation circles via a circuitous path starting in computing.  By making components fail-fast, the overall system becomes more fault tolerant. 

In innovation the idea is to follow your nose towards the new users, or those on the bleeding edge, who always like to try new things.  These are Malcolm Gladwell’s mavens, whose book I reviewed back in Open Insights 18.  When you have networks of these types of users, such as on sites like Facebook, fast failing allows you to quickly weed out those unpopular or somehow unworkable ideas and concepts, and concentrate efforts on the ones that succeed in the real world.  I blogged about facebook as guest blogger on comments.  Take a look at A Real Open Book.

It’s an intriguing concept, fast failing.  I might argue that it is more representative of the "real-world" than focus groups, or opinion polls.  You get real information in real situations.  That said, such a focus group of proverbial power users or early adopters may skew the results away from ideas that have appeal to more conservative users.

If you want to read more about this topic, I suggest taking a look at the October 13th Economist.  There is a whole special report on Innovation, which is quite good.  This piece on open innovation is available online: The Love-in.

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2. Conferences/Speaking Engagements

Last April was the Collaborate 2007 conference in Las Vegas Nevada. I ended up giving two talks, one on Monday, and one on Tuesday. I’ve uploaded video of both of them.

In other news, we’ve submitted a series of five abstracts to the IOUG Collaborate 2008 Conference and another five to the O’Reilly MySQL Conference in April 2008.  You can find them on our relaunched Oracle  + Open Source site by clicking "abstract", or by following this link.

3. New Articles

Oracle, MySQL and Postgres – Feature Comparison Part I

Oracle, MySQL and Postgres – Feature Comparison Part II

Open Source Technologies for Oracle DBAs Part I

Open Source Technologies for Oracle DBAs Part II

4. Audio Interviews 4. Audio Interviews

In our most recent interview we had the opportunity to talk with Norman Yamada CTO of Millburn Corporation.

Norman shares with us his experiences providing world-class computing solutions, and the pros and cons of doing it with open source.

We’ve also moved our podcast to Odeo for Audio Podcast hosting. It is a great service, and provides all the RSS and subscribe links automatically. So please subscribe if you haven’t already!

5. Current Reading 5. Current Reading

Get Anyone To Do Anything – by David Lieberman

With a title somewhat manipulative sounding, it might draw you or put you off at first depending.  But Lieberman’s book is really just insight into influence, a la Carnegie’s classic How to Make Friends and Influence People.  He breaks down human nature, to help managers better motivate through common understanding rather than dictate, and helps those who might otherwise be fooled or tricked to avoid that fate.

Instant Analysis – by David Lieberman

With a checklist of 100 behaviors and habits, Lieberman is at it again, helping us understand human nature, in this case our own, in order to be less self-defeating, more dynamic, and ultimately more successful people.  Who could argue with that?

6. Lightweight Humor 6. Lightweight Humor

A little inane humor to brighten up your day…

Did you really name your son "Robert’);drop table students;".  Ok so maybe that’s only funny to an uber geek.  Ooops!

7. Miscellaneous 7. Miscellaneous

We all want to optimize our sites for Google.  I mean other than a select few, that’s where most of our traffic comes from, so the more our site plays well with Google, the more users, readers, customers, and clients will find their way to us.

Most of the SEO material I’ve read has been pretty sparse, and unclear.  But I’ve been following the topic over at my good Felix’s #comments blog, and I’m starting to get it.  So you can too!  Take a read: Google loves me, again!

If you haven’t been following the news on the topic, take a look over at this NY Times piece: Silicon Valley Start-Ups Awash in Dollars, Again.  Personally I don’t think there is much hysteria this time around, sure there’s some, but not much.  The industry is more mature now, and computers in general have lost their initial wow factor, so people are general more sober, and able to step back and see what is actually useful, can make money, is making money, or might well make money.  That’s the root of investing smart.

8. Past Issues 8. Past Articles

Issue 37: A Real Open Book

Issue 36: Rarity of Excellence

Issue 34: Hindsight Is Always 20/20

Issue 33: Market For Experts

Issue 32: Different Heritages

Issue 31: Auto or Traffic Engineer

Issue 30: Crowdsourcing

]Archive: Past Issues

9. Technical Articles 9. Technical Articles

Oracle DBA Interview: click here

Tools for the Intrepid DBA: click here

Oracle9i + RAC on Linux/Firewire: click here

Migrating MySQL to Oracle: click here

MySQL Disaster Recovery: click here

10. About Heavyweight Internet Group 10. About Us

In a nutshell, Oracle. Everything related to and surrounding the database technology we specialize in, but specifically setup, admin and tuning of Oracle technology. I have 10 years experience with Oracle, wrote a book on the technology, and write and lecture frequently. I’m founder and senior consultant of the company. In capacities where your company might hire Deloitte, AIG, or Oracle Consulting we can bring the same level of service and experience, at about half the price. Simple equation.

Looking for a top-flight DBA? Visit us on the web at