On Being Wrong

When I first started blogging, I was nervous because I might be wrong. Not just “wrong” like “Gee Ted, I don’t know if I agree with your opinion about using Irish children as forced labor,” but factually wrong. And if I was wrong on the internet, people would see it forever and ever. Well, Google would know about it forever and ever. A friend of mine advised me that I would certainly be wrong on the internet, just like I’ve been fantastically wrong in real life, and that the only thing you can do is get up, admit you were wrong, and keep going again.

I had this opportunity the other day after blogging about Cassandra and HBase. I made a lot of mistakes in that post. At first I couldn’t understand what I had said or done wrong, so I reached out to the people who took issue with my post and said “Hey, help me correct my mistakes, leave a comment.” Todd Lipcon left a comment on my blog post. Ben Black emailed me. I looked at their suggestions and fixed to my post.

Turns out I was still missing something. Ben looked up my contact info againand talked to me directly via instant messenger. He helped me figure out what I was missing and why before walking me through some core concepts.

This wasn’t about SQL Server; this was about HBase, Cassandra, and Facebook. I’m a newcomer in that community. I effectively know every little. Yes, I was wrong, but people took the time to help me understand, learn, and correct my mistakes. That’s what great community is about: helping each other.

Being right or wrong isn’t important. How you react to being right or wrong is.

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