No One Is Wrong, And No One Is Right

Yesterday was one of America’s worst days, and one of America’s best days.

It was one of our worst because an individual carried out the deadliest mass shooting in our country yet. It was one of our best because in response to that violence, hundreds of ordinary citizens became heroes. Though we wish they never had to, we got to see the hero come out of hundreds waiting in long lines under the Florida sun to donate blood, dozens of first responders, and those conducting swift and smart actions that kept the toll from getting higher.

Somehow, yesterday’s events prove everyone’s opposing beliefs and political views. But what inspires me is that while everyone is radically disagreeing on the answer, at least everyone is asking the same question: how do we end this? How do we keep another tragedy from happening? What disheartens me terribly is that as a country, we’re allowing all the different, and sometimes opposing, answers to stop us from trying anything at all. We have so many ideas, but we’re obsessed with fighting everyone else’s.

When my team has a big problem at work, and we all have different ideas on how to conquer it, we do not sit around and argue for weeks to see who is right. That’s no way to find out. And that’s no way to solve a problem; that’s the best way to go out of business. Rather, we try everything. We test our hypotheses in small ways. When we see small victories, when we start to prove some hypotheses, we head down those paths faster. And it usually isn’t one single person’s solution that takes the cake; while iterating we learn more, and get to where we need to be by leveraging different ideas as we test and iterate.

It’s almost been a decade since April 16 here at Virginia Tech. If we spend another decade continuing to debate about who is right, we won’t find out who is right, the only thing we’ll find out is where the next deadliest shooting will be.

No one’s hypothesis is wrong, and no one’s hypothesis is right, until we test, learn, and iterate.