Monday, July 27, 2009

Our Apologies to @BreakingNews

Some of you may have seen the following tweet which unintentionally ended up in the @BreakingNews Twitter stream:

I have to take full responsibility for this mistake (including the typo in the tweet). This tweet was intended for my personal Twitter account which feeds into my Facebook account.

The Adjix system has several code paths that support features dedicated to special Twitter users such as @GuyKawasaki and @BreakingNews. While testing some new features, I received a text message for free food. Just show the cashier your cell phone coupon - no purchase necessary. At the restaurant, I noticed customer after customer showing their cell phones to the cashier. When I returned to work, I tweeted this out from a development machine which inserted the tweet into the @BreakingNews Twitter stream instead of mine.

I didn't even notice the error until about 15 minutes later when Michael van Poppel, the founder of @BreakingNews, contacted me. There wasn't much I could do except apologize.

Unfortunately, mistakes like this can't always be avoided especially when rolling out new features. I worked for Apple Inc. for more than eight years, including a stint at the Apple online store. Once, the online store accidentally released an upcoming feature set to the public too early - about a week before Apple's World Wide Developer Conference (WWDC) in 2003. During the WWDC keynote, Steve Jobs referred to this as "premature specification". Accidents happen.

Joe Moreno