The Failure of Success
I wrote a blog awhile back called I'd love to have that problem in response to clients saying that being overwhelmed with business is a good problem to have, except it's still a problem, and you're still going to fail if you don't solve it.
If you have the resources, you can't overbuild, but even if you don't have the ability to build a 50 story office block for your expanding company, you'd better know how you're going to get into one if your business suddenly explodes.
Of course, as I work online, I'm looking at technology failures like Twitter for my real-life examples. I don't know what Twitter is going to be like in another few years, but they are definitely having that problem of success; I still don't know how they make money, but they just doubled their capacity and they still keep failing.
We've dealt with a number of projects that end up having huge traffic surges, but nothing on the scale of Twitter. I don't think anyone has had to manage that kind of traffic, and I include Google in this... Twitter is doing something new, with realtime communication for millions of people simultaneously.
New is good, I really enjoy fooling around on Twitter with different social media experiments and just shooting shit with complete strangers. But, Twitter is new, and entirely freeform. We have no idea who is going to come up with a new way of using it, or how it's going to impact the whole of Twitterverse. In turn, that means we don't know what's going to happen next, which means we can't plan for contingencies.
One of my favorite tech quotes is, "This is complicated enough, let's not make it any more complicated." There is a huge, complicated world out there online, and if we can do one thing good, and plan for the problems that could arise if that one thing takes off like wildfire, then life will be interesting, and complicated, enough.