What to do after you screw up

Barry McPherson of anti-virus company McAfee, after they released a buggy upgrade that screwed up a lot of customers’ machines writes about “A Long Day at McAfee”.

In our ongoing efforts to protect our customers from a seemingly endlessly multiplying variety and volume of attacks, today we released a update file that clearly did more harm than good. There was a legitimate threat and we wanted to protect our customers, as we have done successfully thousands and thousands of times before. But in trying to do so, we created negative and unintended consequences for some very important people. Many of you.

Having talked to literally hundreds of my colleagues around the world and emailed thousands to try and find the best way to correct these issues, let me say this has not been my favorite day. Not for me, or for McAfee. Not by a long shot.

Mistakes happen. No excuses. The nearly 7,000 employees of McAfee are focused right now on two things, in this order. First, help our customers who have been affected by this issue get back to business as usual. And second, once that is done, make sure we put the processes in place so this never happens again.

Can you imagine a senior exec in a British company writing like this? Instead, we’d have some PR-blended crap about “unfortunate circumstances” and things getting better “going forward”.