Archive for January, 2011

Step 2: how to admit an error

January 20, 2011

Last time I wrote a post, I was talking about the importance of being able to change tack. You may have noticed one famous Bill Gates quote I didn’t use:

”64kb ought to be enough for anybody”

And why? Because Gates denies he ever said it. I have no comment on that, I certainly wasn’t there at the time.

It makes you think, though: is there some sort of hierarchy of ways to change direction? Like (1) I made a mistake [could lead to trouble] or (2) I’ve changed my mind [much nicer, mature reflection on display] or (3) I’ve thought of something even better [hmmm, could look like a disguised “made a mistake”, but if true very positive, improving on ideas] and lastly (4) I never said it, I never did it [controversial maybe, but very good way of avoiding all discussion unless contested by witnesses!].

Perhaps a useful hierarchy to bear in mind, depending on who you’re talking to and what kind of press coverage you might get.

In case you’re wondering why I got onto this topic, I was translating something about error culture (not containing the material in this and my last post) so it was in my mind. These jottings are not a more subtle, twisty and deluxe way of admitting a specific mistake than those described above, just a bit of fun.