When it comes to your MSP business, the devil is most certainly in the details. What does this popular phrase mean? Well, the best way to lie is to tell 99% of truth and top it off with 1% of lie. It doesn’t seem sensible, does it? Then consider 1% cyanide in what is 99% water— that can kill. Consider that approximately 1% of the world owns more than the other 99%. Granted, this isn’t a pure statistic— the following 9% also own a great portion of the world— but it’s startlingly illustrative. The point is that small things make a big difference, and when it comes to the exactitude required in technical business climes, you must be studious to dot every “i” and cross every “t”.
Typos are a great example of something very small which can cost tens of thousands of dollars. One of those typos happened in the Bible itself. In 1631, a misprint changed “thou shalt not commit adultery” to “thou shalt commit adultery.” Whoops! Almost all copies were subsequently burned. But you see how a very small thing can have a very big impact! Some other notable tiny errors that had massive costs include:
- NASA missed a hyphen and lost $80 million
- The $175 million stock market gaffe
- $1.4 million lost to a typo
NASA’s $80 Million Dollar Gaffe
NASA mistakenly crashed one of their outer-space probing units in the 60s when a missing hyphen undermined coding. This is an issue that an MSP business should be especially careful to keep from happening. If you lose millions of dollars for your clients because you code something incorrectly, that may have fallout bad enough to implode your company. It’s not without the realm of possibility. You can be sure that NASA is an organization especially careful to ensure such accidents don’t happen, and yet they made this mistake. No one is immune. Your best bet is to check and double check that which is vulnerable to such mistakes. Incorporate strategic redundancy into your quality control.
The $175 Million Stock Market Gaffe
In the mid-90s, trading online was something very new. A gentleman in Chile made a mistake through lack of experience because of this and lost $175 million for his company, and subsequently, the country that company was centered in. Basically, what he did was “buy” instead of “sell” a massive quantity of stock. In order to repair the issue, he went downright mad trying to buy and sell his way out of the loss. But he was unable to do so, and so by the end of it all, he had lost 7/8th of $200 million for Chile and his employers. You want experienced tech professionals providing services for clients when there is sensitive information or new processes afoot. If you aren’t careful to do this, the mistake initially made could be compounded by the employee’s subsequent efforts to reverse what they’ve done. In an increasingly morally subjective culture, you’re a lot less likely to see an employee willingly own up to their failure and tell the truth— especially if the mistake is big enough. So be strategic to keep those who could make such mistakes away from sensitive areas of operation.
$1.4 Million Lost to a Typo
A comptroller in New York accidentally included an extra letter via typo in a document pertaining to the city’s budget for transportation in reference to education. The result was a doubling of the transportation budget, which ended up costing the city $1.4 million. Perhaps this isn’t nearly so bad as the Chilean stock market gaffe or NASA’s bad hyphenation, but it’s certainly another considerable example of a tiny mistake having bib consequences.
Your MSP business needs to be especially careful to ensure proper quality in all areas where it’s likely for there to be typos. Have redundant “review” policies in place that require initial coding “proofing,” editing from several angles, and a final pre-launch edit. You likely can’t stop all errors, but you’ll catch some. These examples are notable because of their impact— such massive gaffes are rare. Provided you’re cautious in operations, you’ll avoid many.