Mistakes Happen. It’s What we do With them that Makes a Difference.

Mistakes Happen - LinkedIn Thread
This post is part of a new series on conversations worthy of attention. 

When we say “done is better than perfect,” we're not saying forget testing. Steve Woods, CTO of Nudge.ai, put the philosophy to the test# recently. He got into a sales meeting, and when he came out the phones were ringing off the hook—hundreds of people had received repeated invite/cancellation/invites messages to a webinar.

Nick Haughton, growth engineering at Nudge says, “I moved into this role 2 weeks ago, and we already had this webinar in flight. I had never done a webinar before, but we needed to get things live ASAP as our partner was depending on us.”

Sometimes trying to do things fast means we cut corners. He was saving the registrants to Salesforce, and not sending them a registration confirmation email. Nick says in a panic moment he realized no one would have the time of the webinar blocked off in their calendar.

So he made an event in a public Nudge calendar, and invited everyone to it, using Zapier to automate inviting the already registered webinar attendees. Somehow some people were getting over 10 invite-and-decline emails for the event.

One person wrote back,“Dude, what's going on with my inbox,” he panicked and deleted the event, making sure not to send a notification that the event was deleted. But then he got an email from someone asking why the event was deleted.

Soon after Nick got a note from Paul, Nudge CEO, saying to call him. “I am so thankful both Steve and Paul have kids, they are very patient leaders, and walked me through next steps. I'm not sure how I managed to do that, but I am not going to mess with google calendar like that again.”

(Note to self, don't mess with Google calendar.)

After failing to isolate who received the notifications, Nick decided to send an apology email to everyone, and to clarify that the event was still happening. Here's his honest and heartfelt apology:

Hi Kirsty,
I made a really stupid mistake this afternoon. Some of you saw your inbox flooded with meeting invites and cancellations for the Revenue Operations webinar we're hosting in May.  Some of you might have seen something like this:
This was a human error on my part, and tomorrow we're putting processes in place to make sure it doesn't happen again.
To clarify, the Revenue Operations is definitely happening May 9th at 1pm EST, and I'm (clearly) excited to see you there.
Nick Haughton

Do you think people appreciated the sentiment? Yes, they did. Nick received 15 responses to the apology. Everyone was very positive, and a lot of people shared anecdotes about being in a similar situation. “It made me feel a lot better knowing that nearly everyone has made a careless mistake like this throughout their career.”

What happened the next day was not suprising—people started sharing their own stories and encouraging the company to move onwards. Because we can all identify with the situation. I've just met Nick through an email exchange, and I like him already.

We're attracted to shared experiences, and when something is less than perfect, we feel better about ourselves as we empathize with the people and situation. This happens when it's a genuine mistake, so let's not rush to contrive a disaster (nobody likes that, and we can tell.)

Mistakes do happen. It's what we do with them that makes a difference.


For a little bit of background, I met Steve Woods when he was with Eloqua. The expression “digital body language,” which I've used for years to talk about how people and networks move online, is originally from his book.

See for example, marketing as a profit center, and ideas for writing compelling content.

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