"Software Disasters and Lessons Learned"

Who: Jack Ganssle, The Ganssle Group

When: April 28, 2009

Civil engineers have learned how to avoid failure from their rich history of bridge collapses, tunnel floodings, and building disintegrations. The firmware world is quite different; it seems we all make the same mistakes, repeatedly. Yet most problems have similar root causes. In this talk we’ll examine a number of embedded disasters, large and small, and extract lessons we must learn to improve our code.

Speaker Bio

Jack Ganssle helps developers build better embedded systems faster.

He started, developed and sold three electronics companies; including one of the world’s leading producers of embedded development tools.

He developed or managed the development of over 100 embedded products, including in-circuit emulators, underwater navigation equipment (some used to recover Space Shuttle Challenger’s wreckage), steel thickness gauges, near-IR protein measurement instruments, the White House security system, compilers, colorimeters, numerous classified Government systems… and even one device that analyzed cow poop!


Jack is the Technical Editor of Embedded Systems Programming magazine as well as author of the magazine’s monthly column “Breakpoints”. He has published over 600 articles on different aspects of embedded development, as well as six books on the subject. On-line, he writes the weekly Embedded Pulse column on embedded.com and is editor of The Embedded Muse, a free bi-weekly email newsletter.

Also an avid sailor, he has written numerous articles on ocean voyaging and a book about his offshore debacles.

Lecturing and Teaching

For over a decade Jack has lectured at symposiums and conferences on electronics and software all over the world. His Better Firmware Faster seminar has helped thousands of developers get products to market faster with fewer problems.

He has presented the Keynote speech at many major events, including the two Embedded Systems Conferences.


Jack currently serves on Embedded System Design’s Editorial Review Board, as well as the boards of several pre-IPO corporations. He has also worked as an Expert Witness.

Jack is a member of NASA’s Super Problem Resolution Team, a team of advisors formed in the wake of Columbia’s loss to help NASA with issues requiring special expertise not available in-house.