Thursday, December 19, 2013

The Joy of Failure

Of bitter failure and TheHackerCIO, I sing, O Muse.

Anyone read the Illiad's opening lines?

Today, TheHackerCIO experienced failure. A lot of it. Yesterday evening, I deliberately tried something "off script" from my class instruction on  Cassandra. I've been attempting to recover ever since. I've been behind the class all of today, desperately attempting to catch up. Desperately attempting to repair my Cassandra cluster.

But I'm not that unhappy about it.

As "The Villain's Lab" today puts it:
I would rather have problems thrown at me, and iterate through a million choices to find the “right one for right now” than have all the right answers the first time.
Actually, to be honest, I would rather have all the right answers the first time, but that isn't realistic. And I know that I'm going to learn more, learn faster, and get more insight into production problems and issues by breaking things and then attempting to fix them.

So, while I only got to Lab #10 so far, out of 16; if that's all the further I get, yet I played with rebuilding my cluster and debugging a data consistency problem, I got a much deeper understanding from the tutorial than what comes from merely following the script, cutting and pasting in the commands, and grabbing a cup of coffee.

Not that I would have minded a nice cuppa ...

But I encourage you, O fellow technologists: type in the commands when you're doing tutorials -- build your muscle memory. Don't rely on cut-and-paste, what will that give you? When you don't understand why it's done one way and you think it should be done another, don't miss that opportunity! Try it! You'll break it, and you may spend the rest of the day recovering, but you'll learn. And the chance to learn is irreplaceable.


P.S. At 4:30pm, my instructor gave a "final exam", in which he said not to use the script, because "If you use the script, you're a cheater. You learn by suffering." Apparently he's learned the Joy of Failure as well as TheHackerCIO!


I Remain,

TheHackerCIO in Silicon Valley

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