It's summer and we are all going on holiday, at least mentally - and who can blame us for that? After all, it's 40 degrees and counting. With that in mind, we in Berlin are relaxed and have some time to reflect. We want to give you the time to also reflect, accept our faults, learn from, and laugh about the shit that happened in our recent past. How better to do that than on a rooftop terrace, with beer, pizza, and stories about fuck-ups.
And we had it all. From failed people evaluation systems, to company wide email blasts upsetting colleagues, and having to fire 40 people within a day due to one well intentioned, but horribly backfiring, decision. However, the encouraging thing is that everyone was alive, well, and a little bit wiser.
Małgorzata worked with her company for six months and never met her manager, they never even talked. She left when people told her that he had no time to take care of the interns. To this day, she has never seen or talked with him.
Finn explained how at the beginning of his career he had to do one simple thing: send a survey to all team leads, wait for them to answer, and then work with the results. Turns out, that if something looks easy it might not be as the complications arise and you don't have a fall back plan, (what actually do you do when people don't answer?) or you rely too much on others. Needless to say, a simple survey turned into Finn's personal disaster.
Marian, explained how he fucked up in analyzing his co-workers (and dates), and as a result of that came up with a Sailor Moon evaluation scheme.
Oliver spoke about how you can fuck up an integration of a whole new team into a new company, particularly when the company is still finding itself. The goal was to bring a B2C product to life as fast as possible by getting a team from a trusted partner integrated into their core team. As it turns out, if you trust the external team on a "group" level instead of investigating on an individual level, what you see is not what you get. For example, you may recieve less employees that are not necessarily a cultural fit. There was no unified view on missions and values, or an actual plan on what to do with the team. Don't let them be idle.
Jan had to fire 40 people within a day, because he made a major management mistake. He tried to centralise departments of several startups in his incubator, which led to sales bottlenecks and company growth stagnation. This caused a ripple effect and eventually had investors running away. The lesson here: Don't centralise startups.
Mark went on stage spontaneousy and told the story how he lost a 15Mil USD opportunity and Franesca, spotaneously like Mark, told the story how her company only in the very last interview figure out that the engineer they wanted to hire thought in fact, that women do not belong into engineering jobs.
Lucas explained how his success quickly turned into disaster. He was able to close a deal within 3 weeks after starting in the a new company. He was so happy that he told everyone via email, which included the actual offer. Well, little did he know that he also included someone in the email who had applied for the same position, and earned less than the person that was hired. Obviously the CEO and CFO (and the said colleague) were not very happy, but as Lucas concluded: It is not a mistake to make a mistake, but it is a mistake to repeat the mistake.
Enjoy the summer!