Yesterday we’ve experienced probably the worse production down-time that we had since we’ve launched Totango. The intentions were good, we’ve upgrades a significant part of our infrastructure that we’ve worked on for months and unfortunately this upgrade didn’t go smooth…
We’ve been working around the clock to resolve the problem, and at the same time I felt that it’s important to openly communicate to our customers directly, with a message within the application, thru email to all of our admins, and on the company blog about the situation and to keep everybody up to date.
We’ve started getting feedback from our blog readers that we should have not have used public communication to report about the service problem. Some people of the team felt the same way, as this could very well become an ammunition to our competition, and may scare off potential customers who are in the process of evaluating our service.
This is a tough decision – how open and transparent should we really be?
I guess the world is divided into two camps:
Information on a need to know basis
Open and Transparent
Clearly, me and the team are part of camp #2. I believe that by being open and transparent, even at cases of failures, we will get credit for admitting to problems and resolving those.
However, option #1 should not be dismissed easily. There are many companies that keep very good image without exposing their failures publicly.
Google has changed the way composing new messages works in Gmail. Now when clicking compose, Gmail opens a new window layered on top of the inbox instead of switching to another widow as it used to be.
I like it a lot. Now I can write several email messages without the need to switch between browser window. Gmail was always rapidly fast, but with this new behavior it is feels even faster than before.
Gmail also changed the reply button behavior. This is something I don’t really get nor like. It feels confusing an improper, but I’m not sure why it gets me such ‘messy’ feeling.
I’m sure that this rollout of new features is highly monitored by Google Gmail analytics capabilities, and within few days Google will conclude their A/B testing and come up with the winning model for the reply button behavior.
This is yet another proof to the power of single page applications (SPA) in modern web development. Now it’s easier to do with frameworks like Ember.js (which we use and love at Totango), Angular and others.
The Totango team and myself are mentioned in this WSJ recent article. The article is about how the Steve Jobs biography impacts managers and founders. I think the article came out pretty nicely, although as always, you can find comments from people who don’t like Apple/Steve Jobs/Entrepreneurs in general.
Two days ago I had the pleasure to tell the story of Totango to Justin Vincent and Jason Roberts of Techzing. Techzing is very active podcast for hackers. Jason and Justin operate in the space and also cover it on their show which makes their questions and interest really genuine.
Justin started to experiment with Totango by integrating his successful enterprise twitter platform Pluggio into Totango. BTW, if you’d like to see great implementation for ramping up customers on a non-trivial service, I would highly recommend to subscribe to Pluggio.
Please listen to the show and let me know what you think?