“We always seem to view our role models as if they’ve made perfect choices every step of the way. If only that were really true!”
Facebook’s NYC headquarters was packed to the brim Tuesday night with career-minded techies looking to gain insight from a panel of some of the tech industry’s leading ladies. The chat was organized by Girls in Tech, a global organization “focused on the engagement, education and empowerment of powerful, influential women in technology and entrepreneurship,” and was moderated by Kickstarter’s Bethany Sumner.
The conversation originally focused on career mistakes, but veered to cover everything from mentorship to sexism in the workplace, and left guests with a heap of actionable tips.
A new way to think about mistakes will both help you stop making them, and change the way you feel about them.
The author contrasts the “error model” of performance with the “bug model.” In the error model, your performance on a piece of music or a test is thought of as a perfect performance with randomness errors. With that conception, improvement means lowering your error rate. (Sound familiar?) And with this model, your performance is graded by your accuracy.
Then there’s the bug model: When you’re taking a test you’re executing a program. Since the program is deterministic, a bug will create consistent errors across a class of problems. As such, a percentage doesn’t really capture the accuracy of a program; fixing a tiny bug can turn everything being wrong to everything being right. The key, then, is to isolate the bug.
“Once you start to think of mistakes as deterministic rather than random, as caused by “bugs” (incorrect understanding or incorrect procedures) rather than random inaccuracy, a curious thing happens,” she writes. “You stop thinking of people as ‘stupid.’”