By Noel Ward, Executive Editor March 6, 2006 -- Experience is said to be the best teacher, but being of a more cynical bent I often think of it more along the lines of "Good judgment comes from experience and most of that comes from bad judgment." But the fact is, we all learn by doing and the sum of our experiences is something we always benefit from and can share with others. I get asked to speak to a variety of audiences ranging from commercial printers to service bureaus to small print shops to college classes. More and more often audiences seek practical information about variable data printing. While it is one thing to describe what to do to make a project successful, one of the best tools for teaching newcomers about VDP is to tell them what can go wrong--and how the problems can be prevented to begin with. So here's what I'd like. What "war stories" do you have that you can share? I'm looking for tales of how programs in direct mail, transactional print, web-to-print, and even cross-media have gone wrong. I don't care who the customers were, who did or did not do what needed to be done. I'm interested in learning what the project was, the scale of the problem, where things went south, how it was corrected, and what those involved learned from the experience. Was it data base issues, email snafus, postage problems, design or printing issues? Whatever it was, I just need to hear the stories and how they were resolved. Any information on the costs involved would be especially useful as attaching dollar figures to mistakes always has a way of making people pay attention. I promise no names will be used. Don't even include them--I don't want to know. I just need to hear about snafus, goof-ups, blatant errors, dumb mistakes, and other disasters to use them as examples of what can happen when the dragons come to call. And that may help others avoid the same mistakes. After all, at the end of the day, we're all in this together. Please send your war stories to me at [email protected] Please provide contact information so I can reach you if I have any questions. Thanks, and I'm looking forward to hearing from you.