Designed to Fail

I wish more services were designed to fail.

No, really. The problem is that they are designed to work. When they work, they’re great. We love them. It’s when they fail that we have problems. You don’t notice your broadband when it’s working. But when it fails, you feel like you’ve lost a limb. And then what happens?

Generally, your experience is terrible. No-one has thought very much about what to do when it goes wrong. Anyway, it only fails for 1% of the user base. Only when it’s you, you are 100% affected. No-one has thought about it from where you are.

Aeroplanes are a great product, aren’t they? That’s because they are designed to fail. That’s why Captain Chesley Sullenberger could land his Airbus 320 on the Hudson river and everyone could get out before it sank. (It helped that he was trained for failure, too)

We should be creating services that are designed to fail like that.

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