Don't Look Back in Anger: Wildman Whitehouse and the Great Failure of 1858

In the 1850s, Edward Orange Wildman Whitehouse was appointed the lead engineer of the first attempt to build a trans-Atlantic telegraph cable. With the entire population of two continents waiting for his go-live, their handlebar moustaches aquiver, he demonstrated in fine form just how spectacularly a big project can be a bigger disaster.

This is a story of project development gone very wrong, and a lesson about the importance of honest reflection in technical work. Lilly outlines some of the mistakes made during one of the biggest tech delivery projects in history, and how a constructive view of failure helped to turn it all around.

You'll learn: - How to handle complex tasks gracefully - The importance of being open to feedback - How to foster good team relationships to deliver great work

Presented by

Lilly Ryan

Lilly is a software and systems engineer from Australia. She has consulted on tech projects in the financial industry for several years, and these days spends her time building and breaking corporate identity systems.

Following a stint as an academic specialising in the surveillance mechanisms of medieval Europe, more recent years have seen her teaching practical tech privacy to the public, giving talks on the history and ethics of technology, and camouflaging herself in libraries.


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