If you had to choose, which would you rather endure?
- Your products spontaneously catch fire in the hands of your customers?
- A hacker steals all your sensitive customer data.
We’ll assume your answer is “none of the above.”
These aren’t hypothetical choices of course. If you’ve followed the news, you know each of these happened in 2016.
As the old saying goes: “A wise man learns from his mistakes. But a wiser man learns from the mistakes of others.”
As we move into 2017, let’s take a moment to consider the biggest blunders of the last year. From bad to worst, here’s our ranking of the five biggest tech blunders we saw in 2016:
5. AirPods and the Missing Headphone Jack
Apple might be better at building hype than any other company on Earth.
But when Apple announced it was eliminating the standard headphone jack on the new iPhone 7, reactions were mixed (at best).
Apple didn’t do itself any favors by delaying the release of the AirPods, which were promised within a few weeks of the iPhone 7.
Apple pushed the release of the AirPods for months, finally offering them for sale in mid-December, months after the iPhone.
The lesson for 2017? If you build hype for a product, hit the timeline.
4. Evernote Goes Big Brother
If you think no one cares about privacy, you didn’t see what happened to Evernote in December.
The move led to a massive backlash on social media and in the press. Evernote scrapped the policy a few days later.
The lesson for 2017? People don’t want strangers reading their personal data.
3. Microsoft AI Turns Fascist
“Tay” was a Microsoft AI chatbot that launched on Twitter mid-year. The idea was that Tay could “learn” by interacting with other users on Twitter.
But, within 24-hours, Twitter had corrupted Tay so badly, the bot was composing Tweets that denied the Holocaust, among other things.
The lesson for 2017? Stick with technology tools that are straightforward, easy-to-use, and effective.
2. Exploding Samsung Phones
Cell phones aren’t supposed to spontaneously combust.
Samsung downplayed the danger of the Galaxy Note at first. But eventually, safety concerns drove the company to issue a full recall of 2.5 million phones worldwide—including 1 million just in the U.S.
The recall is expected to cost Samsung $3 billion.
The lesson for 2017? Make quality products. And if something goes wrong, act quickly to fix it.
1. Yahoo Reveals the Biggest Email Breach in History
Your customer data is a target, and hackers are getting better at breaking security measures at even the biggest companies.
Case in point: Yahoo recently announced 1 billion user accounts were compromised, the single biggest email breach in history.
Why is a data breach No. 1 on our list?
Because experts expect hackers to grow increasingly bold in 2017.
The lesson? If you don’t have a plan to protect and back up your data, it’s time to get one.