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Three days after the Virgin Galactic’s tragic crash and loss of its pilot and its SpaceShipTwo manned rocket, we reflect on startup lessons to be gleaned from the situation.

John Goglia recently posted an article on Forbes describing some of the major differences between the situations of the Columbia accident and this recent tragedy. John assisted in the investigation of the Columbia accident, citing nearly 1,000 data points that they used to hypothesize what went wrong. All of this data was helpful in determining the cause of the accident, even though it was still painstakingly difficult and assumptions had to be made.  Alternatively, with this new tragedy, he points out that with modern technology, multiple video feeds on the craft and from ground, and additional sensors, a tremendous amount of additional data will be used to analyze the breakup of the spacecraft–hopefully resulting in an even more conclusive diagnosis.   From this data, Virgin Galactic hopes, and Richard Branson in particular, to overcome the existing problems and keep the commercial flights on track.

What do Virgin Galactic and your business have in common? Both face problems; both face setbacks; both can use data from its problems to learn how to overcome and successfully and strategically approach future attempts.

Which data should you be collecting? See another of our posts on operating and performance metrics that you can and should be tracking to enhance your company’s likelihood of success. Outside of performance metrics, successful companies regularly follow market data to guide their decisions, interview employees one-on-one to keep a pulse on employee morale, and above all, keep accurate financial records to produce reports to help managers make decisions. If you have any questions about implementing these components, feel free to contact us.

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