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A few weeks back, as students geared up for their virtual classes, something unexpected happened that left millions unable to join classes - It was an outrage on Zoom.

I had faced a similar disruption when a spreadsheet tool that I regularly use suddenly went offline leaving behind a small message saying that they are facing server issues. I’m sure we as remote workers have come across this at least once. For some, it may not be impactful, but for others, the consequences could be drastic.

Software outages are highly uncommon but even top tech companies including Google, Facebook have had their fair share of disruptions.

Fortunately, I had my document stored on another tool and was not only able to retrieve it quickly but also complete it well before the deadline. 

Having a backup tool is a lifesaver in such situations as it doesn't let productivity be affected. In that way, let’s say if your primary chat tool Slack faces a downtime, you can continue to collaborate on Teams or even Discord. 

Plus, this doesn’t just apply to tools, but even for others such as having a backup internet connection, headsets, or maybe even a laptop. As I write this post using my secondary Wifi, I’d say its better to be prepared than sorry ;)

Do you have any exciting stories on facing a disruption too? Would love to hear!


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    Good post, Stella. Backups are indeed a lifesaver at times.

    Slack is a great tool but I don't think Teams or Discord would be an apt alternative. I think other messaging apps such as Telegram, Whatapp are more suitable as a backup to Slack. It's very much similar to Doist using Telegram as a backup for Twist. 


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      In my opinion, for groups, particularly when you require more functionality than just chat, Telegram and Whatsapp are a bit limiting - there isn't much in terms of organization, they're both just streams of communication which can get very unwieldy in large groups.

      At least in tech community circles, I'm seeing some migration to Discord. I personally don't see much differentiation from Slack in terms of core functionality, but I guess it's a matter of the community, communities you're in.

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      And it applies to sales, too. This is a chapter directly from my book. So...yes, it's a necessity.


      What’s Plan B?

      What could possibly go wrong? The self-help, positive-thinking crowd would suggest that you should always focus on the ideal outcome, force all negative thoughts from your being and imagine total, limitless success. Which is fine, up to a point.

      But another way to think about things is to step up and ask yourself, “What can go wrong?” Sure, your solution is the best option for the customer. Yes, the client has all but signed. Still, in that moment, take some time and try to imagine all the ways your deal could go sideways. 

      This isn’t a prescription for worry or a suggestion that you’re being too easy on yourself. Rather, taking time to imagine disaster has the curious effect of making it less likely. 

      Think about applying this tactic at the various stages of every deal. Make it part of your standard practice. Ask yourself what could go wrong. Where are the problems, weaknesses and unknowns? How could you lose the deal? Who is against you? What needs to happen for disaster to strike?

      Use NASA as an example. There’s arguably no more skeptical, worrisome, hand-wringing crowd on the planet. They spend tens of thousands of hours trying to anticipate all the disastrous, life-threatening events that could befall any project. Most of them never come to pass. Fewer still don’t have a solution already in place. 

      Salespeople seldom formalize this ‘imagine a deal-breaking calamity’ component of the sales process. The result is, there’s no Plan B when a calamity does strike. There’s no deft recovery because nobody could imagine the need for one. Until there is. 

      The interesting aspect of the NASA philosophy regarding serious problems is that they’re made less serious simply because they’ve already planned for them. By anticipating the problem, they’ve given themselves the time to resolve it beforehand. It’s not even really a surprise. It’s just another step, another plan that needs to be executed. 

      Make a habit of asking what can go wrong before it does, and then having a Plan B becomes second nature.

      You won’t need it. Probably.


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        Well said Brendan. I agree, in any meeting where new ideas are discussed, we actually encourage the presenter to share a few points under "Why would this idea not work".

        Now the point is to not discourage the person but to rather analyse the idea from various different angles. Typically, we see that people are able to suggest problems with their own ideas and have also thought of solutions to them. This makes them even more confident in presenting the idea because they are able to predict any objections that might be raised.

        This also gives others the avenue to pitch in with solutions to the problems presented.

        Having said that, I also push people to assess the cost of a mistake. If it is quite low, preparing for contingencies is just more costly. As a startup, we need to know where to not obsess with perfection.