Fail Fast. Painful but progressive.

One of the trending quotes these days is “Fail Fast”. It’s not new. Failing fast, picking yourself back up and correcting your path is what happens in the entrepreneur business. I’ve never met anyone that started out with a perfect model and achieved smooth sailing from day one. It doesn’t happen.

So, on that note, I thought I would share one of our biggest failures in our fifth year which is last year, 2017. The mistake was huge but the lesson was incredible.

As most of you know, Urban E Recycling, Inc., is HIPAA Compliant and Registered with the EPA. With that comes much responsibility. We take it very seriously. We remove all hard drives and other data devices when equipment comes into the warehouse. Our team handles several truckloads a day. Since security is our number one concern, we have developed our own app that has a excellent tracking system. The paper trail has served us remarkably.

I recently followed the path of our recycling process to update our procedures. Shamefully, I didn’t realize the time and effort our employees make when performing their duties. I had to say, “Wow!”. I actually said it.

“Wow!”. I actually said it.

The fail-fast big mistake was with a new client, of course.

Let me say, now, that we do not send certificates of data destruction until the hard drives are shredded. So, we sent our new client certificates of ten hard drives that was shredded. Sometimes we hear a ‘thank you’, but most of the time we hear nothing.

This new client emailed us back saying there were twelve hard drives to be shredded. The certificate of data destruction indicates only ten.  This was alarming and slightly confusing. We went over the paperwork, there were only ten computers. We didn’t want to disagree with the customer, and we always want to be correct. More than that, we want to be transparent with all procedures. Carefully, we went through the process again, wondering how we could be missing two hard drives.

Nick, the warehouse manager started opening the ten computers we received from the client. “Ta-Da!”; he found two hard drives in two of the computers. Those two computers had been upgraded. A supplemental hard drive was inserted on top of the factory hard drive in two of the ten computers. They were encased and hidden from the initial inspection. Relieved, and disturbed at the same time, we documented and shredded the hard drives within the hour. Relieved, of course, because we found the two hard drives. Disturbed because we knew the situation could have gone terribly wrong. What if we had lost track of the computers; or argued with the customer; or any number of possible dark scenarios.

The good thing is, we learn from our mistakes. Mistakes and failure will happen. It’s what we do afterward to correct them that counts. We always look for hidden hard drives now.

Your security is our passion. We love what we do.