Learning to make mistakes

    Learning to err from the powers that be.

    Says Meg Whitman, Former Ebay CEO, California Governor Candidate

    When I joined Ebay in January 1998, the company grew insanely fast, revenue grew 70% every month. We continue to update the site, but the time was sorely lacking. If you think that your traffic will grow by 150% next year, you need to prepare the infrastructure for 250% growth.

    At five o'clock in the evening of June 10, 1998, the Ebay website went down. The database on which the auctions worked was completely out of order. I called my assistant and said: “We will probably have to stay here for a while. We need cots, sleeping bags, toiletries, towels. ”We set up sleeping corners in conference rooms.

    I spent most of the summer there. By the end of the summer, we realized that we needed a new CTO. The recruiter recommended Maynard Webb of Gateway. I called his boss and said, “We need Maynard Webb, right now.” He was so surprised that he could only say “okay”.

    It took us almost six months to completely redo the site. As a result, we made a system that has an uptime of 99.999%. You learn a lot in such situations. You should always plan many steps forward, especially when you are just starting.

    Says Jason Kilar, CEO of Hulu

    I once headed the Amazon DVD sales department. In the fall of 2000, we wanted to find out if we could lower the price and still stay profitable. We decided to arrange a test: half of the buyers will see the regular price, the other half will see a lower, test price. Some buyers noticed this and raised a cry. All this spilled over into the Internet and attracted the attention of the press and television.

    I wrote to Jeff Bezos as soon as I found out. He called me to a meeting where I went with a heavy heart. However, I did not hear a word of reproach. Jeff just wanted to know what exactly happened and how to fix it. The next morning, Jeff performed at the CBS “Early Show”, telling what exactly happened.

    That was a revelation to me. I realized that the most important thing is not to hide anything and tell your clients everything as it is.

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