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Computingfailure.Com: War Stories from the Electronic Revolution Hardcover – 10 Apr 2001


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From the Back Cover

Learn the lessons of today's worst software and e-Business failures!

Understanding why software projects fail is the best way to make sure yours succeeds and the dotcom boom and bust teaches powerful new lessons every manager and developer must heed. Now, Robert Glass, the world's #1 expert on software project failure, has brought together dozens of the latest computer disasters on and off the Web.

These are stories ripped from the latest headlines, each annotated with practical pointers for reducing your own software risk. You'll find failures of strategy, technology, business models, leadership, partnership, and much more―all with one thing in common. You can learn from them. And you'd better!

Detailed insights into nearly 40 failures, including...

  • Pets.com
  • Wingspan Bank
  • Toysmart
  • Interval
  • ValueAmerica
  • Mortgage.com
  • Boo.com
  • Netscape
  • AtomicPop
  • TheBigStore
  • Inacom
  • Pandesic
  • And more...

Looking back, it was a time of madness: an era when billions of dollars―and even more faith―was placed in dotcom startups with inexperienced management and "Swiss cheese" business plans. Robert Glass's ComputingFailure.com is a powerful chronicle of those years, and something more: a cautionary "worst practices" guide for every entrepreneur and e-business professional.

Glass carefully chooses his case studies for the insights they impart. The executives quoted and profiled in this book have learned hard, expensive lessons―about building compelling business models, about managing growth, and about when to ignore the venture capitalists. They've learned surprising lessons about integrating with bricks-and-mortar parent companies and about what it takes to get marketing, tech, and everyone else on the same page.

And they've learned these lessons in the most vivid, unforgettable way possible: by failing.

Don't assume these causes and signs of failure apply only to dotcoms. They can affect virtually every new company―as well as many established companies ramping up e-Business and e-Commerce initiatives. But if you know about these mistakes, you're far less likely to make them. One book gets you to the heart of Web-enabled failure, and returns you safely to the "land of the living": ComputingFailure.com.

From the Foreword:"Today, you need to positively flirt with failure to achieve meaningful success. You need to become an expert on failure. That's where Bob Glass's long and careful study of project failure mechanisms comes in. In ComputingFailure.com, he sets out for you a series of failure scenarios anchored in real and recent fact. Read them and profit from them."

―Tom DeMarco, author of Peopleware

Illustrations by P. Edward Presson

About the Author

ROBERT GLASS is a consultant on software quality issues who has written more than a dozen books on the lessons of computing failures, including Software Runaways: Monumental Software Disasters, and Computing Calamities (Prentice Hall PTR). Glass owns his own company, Computing Trends, and writes a column on software engineering for two societal journals, Communications of the ACM and IEEE Software.

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Amazon.com: HASH(0x9a1fa780) out of 5 stars 3 reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x997a19f8) out of 5 stars CutAndPaste.com 26 July 2001
By E. T. Veal - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
The editor (or, more accurately, compiler) of this volume is honest about how he put it together: He clipped interesting stories about unsuccessful dot.com companies and slipped them into a file. When the file was thick enough, he arranged the stories more or less topically, padded them with his file of recent non-dot.com "computer failure" articles, obtained reprint permissions and, voila!, produced a book (or, more accurately, a "book").
The stories are grouped into chapters, and between the chapters comes the editor's intellectual contribution, consisting mostly of jejune observations that we have all seen or thought before.
If you read The Wall Street Journal and The Industry Standard, you have already read most of this book, and the parts that you haven't read are of marginal interest. On the positive side, the articles are interesting, even though their moral is generally one that was old when Charles Dow was knee-high to a debenture: Don't throw money into an enterprise that you don't understand.
And the moral of this review is: Throw money at this book if you want a permanent anthology of schadenfreude. Otherwise, you got some bucks to invest? Right here I have the Next Great Thing. . . .
HASH(0x990be990) out of 5 stars Misleading Title 3 May 2008
By William B. Swift - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
I really like Robert Glass's computer books of which I've read several, but despite the title, this is NOT a computer book. This is a compilation of news reports of dot-com BUSINESS failures. There is nothing about computers in the book, except that the businesses used them. The blurb on the back of the book talks about "why software projects fail" but there is virtually nothing in the book on projects or software. Also the format is useful for illustrating ideas (for a good example see Epstein's The Case of the Killer Robot) but here there is nothing for them to illustrate - this is nothing but news reports.

I was expecting something more like Neumann's Computer-Related Risks.
2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x990648f4) out of 5 stars 3,5 stars for a very good... compilation! 8 July 2001
By Manny Hernandez - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
I have to admit I was drawn by the book's very provocative title, so I decided to browse through it today, to find that it is a very nice compilation of stories printed with permission, taken from publications such as the Wall Street Journal, The Industry Standard, Barron's and Time Digital.
This is not to say that the content of the stories was bad at all. On the contrary, all of these publications are highly respectable, but if you have been a close follower of the whole dot.com shakedown process over the course of the past year and a half, and expect to find insights that will allow you to better understand the underlying reasons for it, you might be dissapointed not to find any "new" ones in this book.
In short, in my opinion, the book does not add significantly to the whole discussion about the topic.
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