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This talk is a celebration of the letter F as regards to software formation. From his first feats in forming friction free software, Josh has been fanatically fighting the furious fight for first …

This talk is a celebration of the letter F as regards to software formation. From his first feats in forming friction free software, Josh has been fanatically fighting the furious fight for first class software. This talk is a free flowing fantastic flurry of fulmination about being fearful of failure, focusing on the fixed, forcing feedback and much more… So consider yourself forewarned.

This talk was first delivered in Edinburgh at #WhiskyWeb

More in: Technology , Business
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  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/rhruzek/6517253983/sizes/m/in/photostream/ - Fhttp://www.flickr.com/photos/44974843@N04/6022299160/sizes/z/in/photostream/ - #FAILThis talk is brought to you by the letter F as in Failure. I’m, I think, qualified to give this talk as I’ve failed a lot so I know a lot about the subject.
  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/joshholmes/4420045760/sizes/l/in/set-72157623387691473/I am Josh Holmes! 
  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/mag3737/5985046004/sizes/z/in/photostream/Fs. Lots of F.s
  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/kbkarma/583067513/sizes/m/in/photostream/When you think F, you might thing WT
  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/daquellamanera/418375816/sizes/z/in/photostream/ What’s WTF mean?
  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/gratius/2263562358/sizes/z/in/photostream/Of course, it means Wow, that’s Fantastic!!!
  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/82369865@N00/5408395061/sizes/z/in/photostream/I’m going to try not to drop any F-Bombs in this talk but I might fail at that…
  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/misspixels/5527624249/sizes/z/in/photostream/So why is this talk important to me? I’m a software architect. Unlike building architects, there’s not really a college course or anything that can teach one how to be a true architect in software. Now, there are classes that can teach you a tremendous amount of theory and the like but the reality is that 80% of what you learn in college will be outdated within a year of you graduating. What this means is that software architecture is really much more of an art than a science and as such, you need wisdom to be an architect. Wisdom gives you the ability to look beyond the current set of language, operating systems and the like and translate business into technology and vice versa. How does one gain wisdom? It can’t be taught, only learned. You learn wisdom through…
  • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Thomas_J_Watson_Sr.jpgFailure. Thomas J. Watson – founder of IBM is quoted “Recently, I was asked if I was going to fire an employee who made a mistake that cost the company $600,000. No, I replied, I just spent $600,000 training him. Why would I want somebody to hire his experience?”
  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/hariseldon/29884216/sizes/z/in/photostream/I don’t trust any architects to work on projects that I’m working on until they made that $500k mistake. Because they will at some point. WCF/Remoting storyThe reality is that you will fail. And I’m telling you that it’s a good thing. This is a completely foreign concept to most people for a very simple reason.
  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/cjdaniel/3312922051/sizes/l/in/photostream/We have been told from a very young age that failure is a bad thing. From schools where a F is the scarlet letter that will be on your permanent record and if you fail out of school, you won’t get into university and if you fail at university you won’t find a job and if you fail at getting a job….Or look at sports. It’s beaten into us as kids that
  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/robboudon/3040333241/sizes/z/in/photostream/Second place is the first loser!And as failures, we’re losers. But this isn’t even close to reality.
  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/thomashawk/3384352103/sizes/z/in/photostream/Losers always lose. It’s what defines a loser. Winners fail and that’s ok. It doesn’t mean that they are losers. It means that they didn’t win this time.
  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/nimbupani/2407313614/sizes/z/in/photostream/The different at this point is whether or not you finish. Do you give up and go home or do you finish the race, learn from it and start training for the next race.
  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/12308893@N07/6004305823/Adam Savage – Failure is always an option. “Any result is a result”Thomas Watson “Solve it. Solve it quickly, solve it right or wrong. If you solve it wrong, it will come back and slap you in the face, and then you can solve it right. Lying dead in the water and doing nothing is a comfortable alternative because it is without risk, but it is an absolutely fatal way to manage a business.”
  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/darrentunnicliff/4469318003/sizes/z/in/photostream/Failure is a point in time.
  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/shepdave/172711739/sizes/z/in/photostream/ Being a loser is a state of being.
  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/bandrews/6028945125/Josh Holmes – “Do something, anything, even if it’s the wrong thing. Learn from it. Adjust. Rinse, Lather, Repeat.”The trick is to fail fast, learn from it, change things
  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/akrabat/6886054266/sizes/z/in/photostream/ Keep camp and carry on…
  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/herr_schaft/3592236186/sizes/z/in/photostream/
  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/teknokool/3729453412/sizes/m/in/photostream/One thing that Star Wars taught us all is that nothing is too big to fail.
  • http://michaelochurch.wordpress.com/2012/04/08/fail-fast-is-not-an-excuse-for-being-a-moron-a-flake-or-a-scumbag/Michael talks about good fail failure which is a very different thing than wild gambles and reckless abandon. Papa’s 3 ways to make money.
  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/tranchis/4041033176/sizes/z/in/photostream/Or go off half cocked and do stupid things. That just leads to all kinds of other fun things like
  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/rickabruzzo/2697019164/Like flailing
  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/lisavandenberg/3754183071/sizes/z/in/photostream/Floundering
  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/fishyfish/201112295/sizes/z/in/photostream/Freaking out
  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/therogue/3605424464/sizes/z/in/photostream/Getting fired
  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/sercasey/414342923/sizes/m/in/photostream/Foreclosure
  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/digiart2001/3532184080/sizes/z/in/photostream/\\Fire Sales
  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/coldcut/3363518168/sizes/z/in/photostream/It’s about understanding how to manage your risk and how to manage your failures in such a way that you don’t require a government bailout to survive.
  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/heathbar/4012807575/sizes/z/in/photostream/Back toMythbusters, one of their great not so secret keys to success is
  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/switchermark/4352480271/sizes/z/in/photostream/Small scale first. They always start in small scale. Whether they are testing square wheels, duck tape boats, dropping cars from a helicopter, Jato rockets strapped to a car or whatever, they start in small scale.
  • https://twitter.com/#!/bengrue/status/188518998726557696
  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/kincuri/4280500797/sizes/z/in/photostream/
  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/kirstenl/3186636364/sizes/z/in/photostream/Rather than sitting around navel gazing and trying to decide everything up front.
  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/toolstop/4546017269/You need to focus on the one or two benefits that you can provide to a customer.
  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/seven_resist/3056513481/sizes/z/in/photostream/This will be a struggle as feature creep will set on you like nobody’s business…
  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/redwoodphotography/3415697982/sizes/z/in/photostream/One you have picked a few benefits, validate them with customers immediately and start building.
  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/sixthlie/4465123169/sizes/z/in/photostream/Thomas Watson – Founder of IBM “Would you like me to give you a formula for... success? It's quite simple, really. Double your rate of failure. You're thinking of failure as the enemy of success. But it isn't at all... you can be discouraged by failure / or you can learn from it. So go ahead and make mistakes. Make all you can. Because, remember that's where you'll find success. On the far side.”
  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/sepblog/4009750981/sizes/m/in/photostream/And then you add this into your feedback loop over and over again.
  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/jarodcarruthers/3884741649/sizes/z/in/photostream/Don’t get tied to one idea. The feedback loop might take you a different direction.
  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/the_justified_sinner/3848794983/sizes/z/in/photostream/Instead you must be flexible. The amazing part about this is that you might end up building a company that you didn’t expect to build.
  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/kigaliwire/4426908278/sizes/z/in/photostream/And through that constant iteration is how you get to success.
  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/thomashawk/2681744739/sizes/z/in/photostream/And then you rinse, lather repeat…
  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/stevendepolo/4498805718/sizes/z/in/photostream/
  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/karen_roe/4418025226/sizes/z/in/photostream/
  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/elisamoro/5704986146/
  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/kyz/2894740018/sizes/z/in/photostream/
  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/brianjcook/2879231531/sizes/z/in/photostream/
  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/fish2000/2039548271/sizes/z/in/photostream/
  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/ericvardy/4206406322/sizes/z/in/photostream/
  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/74571262@N08/6710953053/sizes/m/in/photostream/
  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/cyanocorax/288232991/sizes/z/in/photostream/
  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/kool_skatkat/998588308/sizes/z/in/photostream/
  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/ilike/3707503212/sizes/z/in/photostream/
  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/vipez/5538136827/sizes/z/in/photostream/
  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/bdegan/4818908177/
  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/pdbratcher/4713479451/sizes/z/in/photostream/
  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/nosmoking/115272857/sizes/z/in/photostream/
  • http://imgs.xkcd.com/comics/a-minus-minus.png
  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/grimsanto/501027283/sizes/z/in/photostream/
  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/conorkeller/4105979579/sizes/m/in/photostream/
  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/lamazone/4853935415/sizes/z/in/photostream/
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  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/lintmachine/2740877092/sizes/z/in/photostream/


  • 1. as in
  • 2. Josh Holmes @joshholmesjosh.holmes@microsoft.comhttp://www.joshholmes.com
  • 3. FFFFhttp://www.flickr.com/photos/mag3737/5985046004/sizes/z/in/photostream/
  • 4. http://www.flickr.com/photos/kbkarma/583067513/sizes/m/in/photostream/
  • 5. WTFhttp://www.flickr.com/photos/daquellamanera/418375816/sizes/z/in/photostream/
  • 6. http://www.flickr.com/photos/gratius/226356 2358/sizes/z/in/photostream/Wow that’s Fantastic!!!
  • 7. F-Bombhttp://www.flickr.com/photos/82369865@N00/5408395061/sizes/z/in/photostream/
  • 8. http://www.flickr.com/photos/misspixels/5527624249/sizes/z/in/photostream/
  • 9. Thomas J Watson en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Thomas_J_Watson_Sr.jpg
  • 10. www.flickr.com/photos/hariseldon/29884216/sizes/z/in/photostream
  • 11. www.flickr.com/photos/cjdaniel/3312922051/sizes/l/in/photostream
  • 12. Goofy Failwww.flickr.com/photos/robboudon/3040333241/sizes/z/in/photostream
  • 13. Losers Always Losewww.flickr.com/photos/thomashawk/3384352103/sizes/z/in/photostream
  • 14. Don’t finishwww.flickr.com/photos/nimbupani/2407313614/sizes/z/in/photostream
  • 15. Failure is alwayswww.flickr.com/photos/12308893@N07/6004305823 an option
  • 16. Spiral of timewww.flickr.com/photos/darrentunnicliff/4469318003/sizes/z/in/photostream
  • 17. Loserwww.flickr.com/photos/shepdave/172711739/sizes/z/in/photostream
  • 18. Fail Fastwww.flickr.com/photos/bandrews/6028945125
  • 19. Keep Calm and Carry On www.flickr.com/photos/akrabat/6886054266/sizes/z/in/photostream Photo used in this presentation with the express permission of Rob Allen aka Acrabat
  • 20. www.flickr.com/photos/herr_schaft/3592236186/sizes/z/in/photostream
  • 21. www.flickr.com/photos/teknokool/3729453412/sizes/m/in/photostream
  • 22. michaelochurch.wordpress.com/2012/04/08/fail-fast-is-not-an-excuse-for-being-a-moron-a-flake-or-a-scumbaghttp://bit.ly/failfastmoron
  • 23. Drink Coffeewww.flickr.com/photos/tranchis/4041033176/sizes/z/in/photostream
  • 24. Flailwww.flickr.com/photos/rickabruzzo/2697019164
  • 25. Flounderingwww.flickr.com/photos/lisavandenberg/3754183071/sizes/z/in/photostream
  • 26. Freak Outwww.flickr.com/photos/fishyfish/201112295/sizes/z/in/photostream
  • 27. Getting Firedwww.flickr.com/photos/therogue/3605424464/sizes/z/in/photostream
  • 28. Foreclosurewww.flickr.com/photos/sercasey/414342923/sizes/m/in/photostream
  • 29. Fire Salewww.flickr.com/photos/digiart2001/3532184080/sizes/z/in/photostream
  • 30. Risk Managementwww.flickr.com/photos/coldcut/3363518168/sizes/z/in/photostream
  • 31. • www.flickr.com/photos/heathbar/4012807575/sizes/z/in/photostream
  • 32. Small Scale First!!! www.flickr.com/photos/switchermark/4352480271/sizes/z/in/photost ream
  • 33. Success is when you’ve failed so much that you start to fail at failing. https://twitter.com/#!/bengrue/status/188518998726557696
  • 34. Perspectivewww.flickr.com/photos/kincuri/4280500797/sizes/z/in/photostream
  • 35. www.flickr.com/photos/kirstenl/3186636364/sizes/z/in/photostream
  • 36. Focuswww.flickr.com/photos/toolstop/4546017269
  • 37. Fight Clubwww.flickr.com/photos/seven_resist/3056513481/sizes/z/in/photostream
  • 38. Look before you leapwww.flickr.com/photos/redwoodphotography/3415697982/sizes/z/in/photostream
  • 39. Fail Thumbwww.flickr.com/photos/sixthlie/4465123169/sizes/z/in/photostream
  • 40. Feedback Loop• www.flickr.com/photos/sepblog/4009750981/sizes/m/in/photostream www.flickr.com/photos/sepblog/4009750981/sizes/m/in/photostream
  • 41. Tied upwww.flickr.com/photos/jarodcarruthers/3884741649/sizes/z/in/photostream
  • 42. Flexiblewww.flickr.com/photos/the_justified_sinner/3848794983/sizes/z/in/photostream
  • 43. Taste of Successwww.flickr.com/photos/kigaliwire/4426908278/sizes/z/in/photostream
  • 44. Repeatwww.flickr.com/photos/thomashawk/2681744739/sizes/z/in/photostream
  • 45. www.flickr.com/photos/stevendepolo/4498805718/sizes/z/in/photostream
  • 46. Camera
  • 47. Xray Camerawww.flickr.com/photos/karen_roe/4418025226/sizes/z/in/photostream
  • 48. Fightwww.flickr.com/photos/elisamoro/5704986146
  • 49. Risk Factorywww.flickr.com/photos/kyz/2894740018/sizes/z/in/photostream
  • 50. Fail Whalewww.flickr.com/photos/brianjcook/2879231531/sizes/z/in/photostream
  • 51. www.flickr.com/photos/fish2000/2039548271/sizes/z/in/photostream
  • 52. Flexiblewww.flickr.com/photos/ericvardy/4206406322/sizes/z/in/photostream
  • 53. Success Aheadwww.flickr.com/photos/74571262@N08/6710953053/sizes/m/in/photostream
  • 54. Repeatwww.flickr.com/photos/cyanocorax/288232991/sizes/z/in/photostream
  • 55. 1 riskwww.flickr.com/photos/kool_skatkat/998588308/sizes/z/in/photostream
  • 56. Finish/Startwww.flickr.com/photos/ilike/3707503212/sizes/z/in/photostream