TED Conversations

Damon Horowitz

In-House Philosopher, Google


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LIVE CHAT With Damon Horowitz: When have you realized that you were wrong about what you once thought was right? June 8, 2011, 5-6PM EDT

Join us for a LIVE conversation with serial entrepreneur, philosophy professor, and Google Director of Engineering, Damon Horowitz.

This conversation will open at 5:00PM EDT, June 8th, 2011.

"I am curious to hear what prompts people to moral reflection and reconsideration: When have you realized that you were wrong about what you once thought was right?"


Closing Statement from Damon Horowitz

I’d like to thank everyone for sharing their thoughts and experiences here. My TEDxSV talk was intended as a provocation for the technology industry in particular to reflect further upon our ethical decision making – but I am delighted to see that it has encouraged much broader discussion.

The prominent themes I hear in this conversation reinforce the value of education, experience, and humility in our moral development. So long as we continually challenge ourselves to question our beliefs, there is some small possibility that we will not always be wrong about what is right.

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    Jun 8 2011: Over the last five years, I have learned that I was wrong about being wrong. In my younger days, my aim was to go undefeated--to have every answer, to tackle every problem, to not make any mistakes.

    Of course, this is an impossible, stressful life--because you can't not make mistakes. When I did made a mistake, I attributed it to factors out of my control, or blamed someone else, or took issue with whether there had even been a mistake at all. This activity was challenging and time-consuming... and impeded my performance.

    I probably wouldn't have realized this but for an involuntary career change that led to months of reflection and a realization that my running from mistakes was the single biggest thing impeding my personal and professional development.

    I've been studying mistakes in business for several years now... & have a site called The Mistake Bank ( http://mistakebank.com ) where I collect first-person business mistake stories, mine included. This effort has been one of the most rewarding chapters of my professional career.

    I still get nervous when I make a mistake, but at least now I know I have a lot of company--the entire human race.

    Thanks, John
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      Jun 8 2011: Your project gives a whole new meaning to the phrase "you can take that to the bank!" :)

      I think you would enjoy Kathryn Schulz's talk on this subject of being wrong...

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