Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong – Murphy’s law ! Yesterday I got an opportunity to see this law in action on TV. I was watching Shark Tank’s episode 18 from Season 10. Two young men came in to pitch for their product, Haven Lock.
The pitch started well. The young men explained that there is a break-in in the US every 18 seconds and that most regular locks cannot stop a burglar. This got the attention of the sharks as it is a serious problem. Then the young men went on to explain as to how they have developed a lock that does a far better job than the regular ones used till now.
Before they showed their product Haven Lock, they wanted to show the sharks how easy it was to break in with the conventional locks. One of the presenters went to the demo door that was locked with a regular lock to kick the door open in a few seconds.
Murphy’s law came into play !!!
Anything that can go wrong will go wrong, indeed. Despite multiple attempts the presenter couldn’t break in. The demo door just did not go down.
The sharks started laughing and the presenters realised that they have sunk their pitch. Without the conventional lock being shown as vulnerable, their improved Haven Lock lost its value and charm.
Did the young men get the sharks to invest in their business? Absolutely not. Did they fail to get the money because of the failed demo? Yes. The famous Murphy Law did its job. In the above shark tank pitch, to my mind, they could never retrieve from the situation they were in.
Am sure like these presenters you have also faced these kinds of challenges. A very common thing that goes totally wrong is compatibility of your devices with the different kinds of IT set up in companies. You suddenly realise that the device that you have doesn’t work with the system the client has !! Your “outstanding” presentation cannot be shown. There is panic and busloads of tension.
What can we do in these situations?
- Scenario planning – Make a list of all the things that can go wrong and find a solution for them beforehand. For e.g carry your own cable for connecting your device to the projector or send your presentation to your client’s admin team ahead of your meeting.
- Plan B and C – Many times when Plan A doesn’t work out, we don’t know what to do. Always have a backup and a contingency plan which means, should plan A fail, you have plan B and should that fail too, you have plan C.
- Testing – All software professionals know the value of testing. Before launching any new software, there are a series of tests that you do to iron out any bugs. If only the Shark Tank presenters in the example above had tested a demo door before bringing it into the program, they would have saved themselves the embarrassment and the lost opportunity. We often carry our presentations as pdf because a pdf document shows up the same way on all systems unlike a powerpoint presentation.
Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong, is true but there are ways to overcome or work around this law. Please do share some other tips that you might have besides the three I have mentioned.
The news article about the Haven Lock episode – Shark Tank recap: Entrepreneurs trip up door lock demo