There’s been a few high-profile fuck-ups in the past week. The one that’s getting all the press is the Volkswagen emissions cheat. The other one, arguably worse, is the peanut butter salmonella incident.

Here’s the way I look at mistakes:

  1. Something bad happens because you’re bad
  2. Something bad happens because you’re stupid
  3. Something bad happens because you didn’t know better

This is obviously ordered from worse to least worse.

Both of the incidents above are the first type. When you are directing people to do something bad, when you know beforehand that it’s bad, you’re just a piece of shit human being.

If something bad happens because you just plain fucked up, without any malice, then it’s just being human.

The last one can get fun (if not for the bad) — if something bad happens because you’ve discovered something new. This is where you can just call it science sometimes. But this is how you find out about new things.

But I think we can agree that #1… yeah, you’ve just failed at humanity.