This page is a collection of links to articles about problems and mistakes: how and why things have failed or can fail. It covers some near misses as well.
- “Are there examples of lean startup ideas going wrong or being misunderstood and leading startups straight to failure?” The Lean Startup author Eric Ries answers the question (2015).
- “Beating the CAP Theorem Checklist”. A humorous checklist of reasons why someone’s idea of how to beat the CAP theorem is wrong.
- “CWE/SANS TOP 25 Most Dangerous Software Errors”.
- “Fifty-Nine-Story Crisis, The”. “What’s an engineer’s worst nightmare? To realize that the supports he designed for a skyscraper like Citicorp Center are flawed—and hurricane season is approaching.” (1995).
- Goiânia accident. An abandoned radiation source is stolen, contaminates hundreds and kills four.
- Hierarchy of hazard controls. A system used to minimize exposure to hazards.
- “How Complex Systems Fail”. “(Being a Short Treatise on the Nature of Failure; How Failure is Evaluated; How Failure is Attributed to Proximate Cause; and the Resulting New Understanding of Patient Safety)” (1998–2000).
- “How people come to believe that completely messed up practices are normal”.
- “Laws of infernal dynamics”.
- “List of inventors killed by their own inventions”.
- Mismanagement at Borland killed Delphi.
- “5 mistakes I made writing my first Clojure application” (2014).
- “Null References: The Billion Dollar Mistake”. By Tony Hoare, who introduced null references in ALGOL W in 1965.
- Plane crash survival stories.
- “PSYOP Mistakes”. How military psychological operations have gone wrong (2004).
- “Social networks: It’s worse than you think”. As the number of messages in the network rises, the quality of those which propagate falls.
- “10 Things We Forgot to Monitor”. Metrics that are less obvious than memory usage (2014).
- “Thinking about why Solaris has failed here” (2012).
- “When a bad day gets worse – getting hacked twice in one day”. Chris Poole on how 4chan got hacked (2014).
- Who sank Nokia. A Hacker News comment argues that by 2010 Nokia was already doomed.
- “Why our startup failed”. “A good product idea and a strong technical team are not a guarantee of a sustainable business.” (2014).
Discussion threads about business failure on Hacker News.
- “Tell me about your failed startup.” (2011).
- “What are your failed projects / ideas?” (2012).
- “When do you know your startup has failed?” (2015).
- “What startups were refused from YC but became successful?” (2015).
- “Early signs that a company is failing?” (2016).
- “Who is firing?” (2016).
- “Why did delicious.com fail?” (2017).
- “Which YC companies failed badly?” (2018).
- “Why did your startup fail and what did you learn?” (2018).
- “Why did your startup fail?” (2019).
- “What are some of your recent failures?” (2019).
- “What’s your latest failed side project and why?” (2020).
- “What’s a side project you built to make money that hasn’t?” (2020).