History has its own legitimate reasons for committing mistakes. In hindsight, they probably seem like bad reasons, but history isn’t made by the people with the most information so much as it is by those with the most decision-making power. This story about the engineers who tried their best to scuttle the Challenger launch has been circulating since the 30th anniversary, and we’ve all read reports that the CIA was warning the White House about Bin Laden’s intention to use commercial planes to attack American soil months before 9/11. The data was there, but it was lost in a sea of other considerations.
Warnings are probably a double-edge sword, à la Macbeth. You get warned in one direction and make a mistake in another.
My stepson brought up Crystal Pepsi, the other day, which I thought was strange, as he is 13 and can’t possibly be nostalgic for it. But then I learned that there is a (growing?) Internet campaign to bring it back. The very concept seemed funny to me. I liked this quote from David C. Novak, the guy whose idea it originally was:
It was a tremendous learning experience. I still think it’s the best idea I ever had, and the worst executed. A lot of times as a leader you think, “They don’t get it; they don’t see my vision.” People were saying we should stop and address some issues along the way, and they were right. It would have been nice if I’d made sure the product tasted good.
History has its own legitimate reasons for committing mistakes.