Lessons Learned from Failure

Phil Hoffman, CEO of Page Per Page, humbly reflects back on his (numbered) days writing code, and the lifelong career lessons that resulted from them.

After graduating college in 1978, my first job was as a computer programmer. My employer was United Airlines (UAL), the largest and safest airline on the planet at the time.  I was assigned to a team of programmers that developed:

  • the airline’s first Weight and Balance program; distributing weight equally throughout the plane was kind of a big thing.
  • the first Container Tracking program; losing bags was becoming expensive and didn’t quite make passengers feel all warm and fuzzy either. 
  • a Flight Planning application; allowing pilots to choose their routes based on weather conditions improved pilot confidence, which in turn comforted the passengers.  

One of my first assignments was to design a Flight Information program. Simply enter a flight number and date to display the flight’s status.  The program did not calculate plane routes, move weight around the plane or track passenger belongings. Therefore, nothing bad could happen, right?   

Wrong.  My quality control testing was less than thorough. Nonetheless, the program was implemented on a Tuesday morning while I was still asleep in bed. 

Almost immediately, the entire UAL flight operations system crashed.  Each time the system was rebooted, it crashed, again…and again…and again. For 12 hours, the entire airline was grounded worldwide. The smartest people in the company (which did not include me) tried to find the cause of the problem.  It turns out that the program I developed had what is known as an “infinite loop”, code that never stops processing until it brings the system to its knees.  

Ironically, I was promoted shortly after this event. Turns out that management decided that being a bad programmer qualified me to troubleshoot code written by other bad programmers!

45 years later…

Fast forward 45 years to Page Per Page, our HOA mailing company in Chandler AZ. From the customer interface to our production workflow, it’s our software that makes it all happen.  Thankfully, I didn’t write the code. People much smarter and talented than I did, and it shows.  Clients consistently tell us that our system is the most user-friendly, intuitive site they have ever used in the industry.  

As we enter the new year, Page Per Page encourages you to experience not only Page Per Page, but our latest technology solutions, too. 

  • Association Vote, an online voting platform designed to complement an election mailing or stand on its own.  Super easy to use, no set up fees and the only solution of its kind that allows the entire election process to be handled by one company, Page Per Page.
  • Hoampage, a desktop and mobile application that allows homeowners to get HOA mail on their phone instead of, or in addition to, their mailbox. This community app can also be enabled to allow multi-way communication between homeowners, the board, and the community manager. If you want to foster trust in the communities you manage, this feature is for you. Not to mention, you can ditch your outdated HOA website as Hoampage provides news posts, calendars, homeowner directories, documents, forms, and homeowner balances along with online payment options.  

At Page Per Page, we deliver mission critical information to homeowners who live in community associations (HOAs).  We invite you to give our technology a try. I promise it is safe to use…because I didn’t write the code.  

Recommended For You

Copyright 2024 © P.R. Hoffman Inc. All rights Reserved.

87% of HOAs lose money on in-house mail.

How does your management company stack up? Take the test with our ROI calculator.