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Don't Look Back in Anger: Wildman Whitehouse and the Great Failure of 1858

Translations: en en


In the 1850s, Edward Orange Wildman Whitehouse was appointed the lead engineer of the first attempt to build a trans-Atlantic telegraph cable. With the entire population of two continents waiting for his go-live, their handlebar moustaches aquiver, he demonstrated in fine form just how spectacularly a big project can be a bigger disaster.

This is a story of project development gone very wrong, and a lesson about the importance of honest reflection in technical work. Lilly outlines some of the mistakes made during one of the biggest tech delivery projects in history, and how a constructive view of failure helped to turn it all around.

You'll learn:

  • How to handle complex tasks gracefully
  • The importance of being open to feedback
  • How to foster good team relationships to deliver great work


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