Archives For rants

Hosting Douchebags

September 10, 2012 — Leave a comment

Kick a guy when he is down? You might as well kick your own customers in the junk while you are at it.

Godaddy has had its fair share of problems, everyone has. Today they had a big one.

Ouch!

Competition jumps in and starts kicking.

And the best

Jesus people.. have some class. The sad thing is this has become so common place. I think you can make a solid case why your service is better/faster/stronger than a competitor without having to resort to tactics like this. For the % of customers your offer attracts, how many are you turning off by being a total douchebag?

 

 

Reactionaries

September 10, 2011 — 1 Comment

People like to get excited about things.

Sometimes I feel people have way too much time on their hands. Chill the fuck out.. relax.  It will all be okay.

Little kings I call them.  Everyone wants to be important. They like to argue about some minor point and will invest hours of time and energy to do so. Hey fuck head; You missed the bigger point while you were sweaty palmed typing out that 9 paragraph blog comment to a 2 paragraph post.

Quit reacting.  Invest that energy into “doing”.  The doers make the rules.

 

Dear Governor Brewer,

Just let it go. Have you not already done enough, shining the national spotlight on Arizona for all the wrong reasons?

- SB1070
- Your debate speech (or lack there of)
- Slashing the education budget
- The Birther Bill

Please.. for all that is right in the world… Legalize it (the voters already approved), and tax the fuck out of it. Do we really need to waste more tax dollars on this?

From this article in Vanity Fair

With youth unemployment in America at around 20 percent (and in some locations, and among some socio-demographic groups, at twice that); with one out of six Americans desiring a full-time job not able to get one; with one out of seven Americans on food stamps (and about the same number suffering from “food insecurity”)—given all this, there is ample evidence that something has blocked the vaunted “trickling down” from the top 1 percent to everyone else.

When you start driving any sort of volume with a company they are generally agreeable to discounting your price a bit. As an example last month I asked for a price review from our credit card processor whom complied and shaved a few 10ths off our transaction fees since we are driving higher and higher volume each month.

Today I reached out to another service provider of ours to ask for a review of our account to see if we can get better pricing. Sadly this companies sales guy countered with a pitch on how a new “technique” could boost our margins. I replied I was not interested in any “techniques” and just wanted to know if we qualified for better wholesale pricing. Again he dodges the question and says this technique is “guaranteed” to make us more money than a discount in pricing would.

I relented and agreed to at least hear the guy out so he could at least tell his boss he “tried” before relenting and giving me what I asked for. Load the gun, spin the barrel… and kill me please. His “strategy” was essentially forcing our customer to opt-out on a upgrade. He would gladly give me preferred pricing on this upgrade.. and boasted about 40-50% uptake on this opt-out.. in other words 40-50% of the people declined the annoying upsell, but the rest were too gullible to know better = higher margins for me.

WHAT THE FUCK!? Who the hell would run a business like this? Confusing your customers and forcing them to opt-out of your high margin product is a recipe for higher margins for you.. but also a whole bunch of�annoyed customers. Ask GoDaddy how that strategy is working for their brand equity. Sure they are printing money.. but come on. Have you no soul, no integrity, no sense of common decency? PROFIT BY CONFUSION is a long term lose for your brand and your customers in favor of short term financial gain.

I’ll give the service provider and the sales guy a break and not call them out. But I will send this note to their COO as food for thought.

Disclaimer: Yes we have a few addons at page.ly. However they are very minimal, and very secondary. They are also directly inline with our core product. Premium themes go hand in hand with premium WordPress hosting, but we don’t push it in your face buy it.

This brings me to my second point. We are moving into an economy based on intangible goods. Like the term Vapor-ware from the boxed software days many companies cannot point a tangible asset they sell. Banks sell this thing called credit, SSL providers sell an emotion called “trust”, marketing people sell whatever it is their customer is buying.. currently “likes” and “followers”.

When a business cant point to a tangible good like say a dishwasher or a car they seem to be more likely to fall into this profit by confusion model. Cable companies sell you service contracts and free installation: Sorry Cox it’s your job to put a guy in the truck and send him to my house to connect the cable as by law I am not allowed to tamper with your wires outside my house. If the box breaks you gave me.. why should I pay for you to replace it?

It’s a fine line out there. Page.ly sells security and automation of technical tasks dealing with server configuration and software installation. And we do so with a sense of responsibility that it is our civic duty not to bend our customers over and sell them useless stuff because they do not know any better. This is industry is some of the worst offenders as we deal in the black arts of technology that 98% of those over 30 are still scared of. You tell them they need to buy ID protect so that big bad spammers don’t get them they will. You tell them they need to buy credit monitoring services because people are going through their mail, they will.

If you cant point to a physical good that you sell, your customer has to buy based on faith you are not misleading them. STOP MISLEADING them people. Happy customers that can genuinely trust you are worth far more than those you duped. Sooner or later the gullible will figure it out and the backlash wont be pretty.

Thanks Lee, for the conversation today about “trust” from SSL providers. Thanks Ward for the thoughts on Profit by confusion.

Community

October 28, 2010 — 2 Comments

There is so much hulla balloo espoused about “community” online. Build a community. Participate in a community. I myself am a huge advocate of community. I blog about it, I speak at conferences regarding collaboration within them. I even sit on the boards of local organizations that are communities of marketing professionals (AZIMA) and entrepreneurs/hackers (gangplank).

But what does it really mean to be part of or participate in a community? Well first there is the agenda. Every community has one and if you don’t see it you have your blinders on. Every community also has it’s “leaders” or those that guide the ship along it’s path. Every community has it’s rabble rousers and vocal members. And don’t forget each community also has it’s ego’s. Every community also has it’s rules.

I am an ask forgiveness later type of person in that I take stock of the community mission/goals and then on my own accord do what I feel like being careful to stay within the apparent rules, but by no means do I wait for someone to tell me it is okay before acting. However by not following the unwritten “rules” or cow-towing to the “leaders” most of the time I tend to piss a few people off.

Some rants and observations:

A few months ago I took it upon myself to give a “voice” to a growing insurrection within Gangplank. A few members including myself were not terribly keen on the (perceived) direction the organization was heading. In general terms some thought the “be dangerous” mantra of Gangplank was under siege as the organization was growing up and becoming a bit more gentrified or “soft” as some said. The transformation was a necessary evolution of a grass roots organization to participate in a larger dialog but a few of us were not ready to give up our “fuck the man” attitude. Gangplank became what it is because it charted it’s own course and it (seemed) to have lost it’s way when (by appearances) more concern was placed on public perception than on core values. So long story short I took it upon myself to make a statement, well a few statements… and they were not received very well. Water under the bridge now, and I think my actions while impulsive at least brought some light onto the situation at hand and created some dialog internally to address the issues.

Take-Away: As a community member, even in a pseudo-leadership position that I am in it’s kinda up to you/us to at least try to steer the ship in the direction we want it go. Your efforts will not always be warmly welcomed but as long as you have the greater good in mind it should all work out.

This next example is a little bit more abstract.

My company is heavily involved in the WordPress community. When I say community in this example there are really two that I am talking about; the greater 30+ million WordPress user community and the very small, very political community that consists of WordCamp organizers, “Official” WP people, and business owners (plugins, themes) in the space.

On the greater community side we do what we can to disseminate information, educate users, convey and reinfornce the values of the community to new comers, and be a good citizen.  The greater community uses the software in some form, and for the most part goes on their merry way publishing online.

But the inner, smaller, community… not sure I have ever been involved in anything quite so politicized before. You got person A talking trash about person B privately then praise them 2 seconds later publicly. You got an unwritten set of rules of what you can and cannot do that seem to morph on a daily basis. You have plugin and theme developers actually scared to speak up and voice dissent for fear of a public lashing. Months after the fact the wordpress.tv site is still featuring the very public, and very nasty spat between two members. The issue has been resolved and by all accounts everyone has certainly moved on, yet it remains broadcast for all to see. Reminds me of a severed head on a stake planted in the town square to remind others what happens if you don’t toe the line. We have done things which in our eyes would expand, coalesce, and strengthen the community, yet ruffled feathers of the command and control structure.

And just when you think you had enough some really awesome and amazing people step up to reassure you that you are in the right place. The good far out weighs the bad – by a good measure. Of course not everyone is going to see eye to eye and they shouldn’t. There would not be any evolution if everyone walked lock step to the same tune.  I have met some amazing people and have been fortunate to work with some amazing and talented professionals in the space. To that end I have actually made it a core part of our business to work closely with others in the community. I dont want to be in the plugin, theme, or services space so we partner with those doing it instead. This kind of intermingled ecosystem is a good thing for the community at large and certainly a good thing for us.

Take-Away: You are going to hit political road-blocks no matter where you choose to participate.  Step around them or break thru them if your care enough to do so. People are people and are going to act like people. You can let the system beat you down.. or get creative and work thru it to at the very least accomplish your goals without causing too much ruckus or at the highest order fight the fight to push your version of the agenda.

Final point:

Why the fuck does everyone have the need to “own” it? If there is more than 1 person involved the word “my” should not be in your lexicon. If there is already something like foo going on, why be so keen on owning your own fooey? Just jump on board of foo and make it better. Add your energy to propel the train faster and farther rather than starting in the coach house fabricating your own version of the train? You are not important, and either is your ego. I have witnessed first hand people try to take ownership of an energy, a movement, or a community that they have no business trying to claim.

The flip-side: If this does happen.. and someone else decides to do your “thing” across town or across the interwebz for valid reasons and is decent about it, you have an obligation to help and support them.

Take-Away: If you care at all about community, support that which is already there rather than attempt to fracture off your own plot to play king.

There is a broad line between whining and constructive criticism. Don’t be the guy the throws stones from left field, be the guy that shows up and participates and offers critical feedback. Derek calls Gangplank a “showupacracy”, decisions are made by the people that show up and participate. You have no say in setting the agenda sitting on your couch.

Community, community, community.. for all it’s political games and its awesome energy it is not going away as our world becomes more digitally interconnected. I guess it comes down to how you choose to participate.

The only reason I am writing this post is because I disagree with the sensationalist nature of the reporting going on and I own a few .ly domains. Perhaps you read Engadget or Techcrunch’s scarebait reporting of Ben Metcalfe’s post getting his .ly domain yanked.

My 2 cents:

When you register a .ly domain the rules in the TOS explicitly make some things off limits:

Any .LY domain name may be registered, except domains containing obscene and indecent names/phrases, including words of a sexual nature; furthermore domain names may not contain words/phrases or abbreviations insulting religion or politics, or be related to gambling and lottery industry or be contrary to Libyan law or Islamic morality, the same applies to the site content.

I read this before I registered the domain and agreed to it, as did everyone else that owns .ly domain must agree to it. It was reported that Ben’s vb.ly url shortener was openly promoting itself as “adult friendly” url shortener (the marketing on the site bragged about being ‘sex-positive’) or something similar. If that is true it seems like a clear TOS violation to me. Case closed.

Whether you disagree (and I do) with their interpretations of what may be decent and women’s status in society is irrelevant if you agree to their TOS when purchasing from them. Their sandbox, their toys, their rules.

My experiance with .ly

The first .ly I bought was pix.ly which I used as a personal project for a site I created that allowed users to vote on 2 flickr photos side by side.  (twitter avatars battle at twit.pix.ly).  The flickr photos were brought in with a search API, this being the internet it took exactly 5 minutes for someone to start searching for “porn, nude, breasts, etc”.  A couple weeks later I got a very polite email from the .ly folks that:

  1. Complimenting me on the site and how they thought it was a novel idea and a great showcase of thier .ly domains
  2. They were sorry to have to remind me that adult subject matter is in violation of the TOS
  3. They requested I alter the app to prohibit the adult content
  4. If I cant alter it, they requested I use the domain for another purpose (within TOS)
  5. They would revoke the registration if I failed to comply

That is far from a case of big ol’ scary mideast government agencies stealing domains back from us yankees.

I elected to ditch the flickr idea and just do twitter avatars with the app at twit.pix.ly and I have not heard anything since.

I also of course own page.ly and sal.ly which I bought for my wife. In regards to sal.ly the domain registrar libyanspider.com was also very helpful in settling a disagreement with a 3rd party that thought they had rights to the domain when they did not. My experience with libyanspider has always been great and their customer service has even exceeded that which I have gotten at some other registrars.

As far as page.ly.

  1. Of course we own pagely.com
  2. Of course we considered the possible repercussions of building an app on a domain we have less control over, so therefore have fully abstracted our service onto other .com domains we do control. .ly could be gone tomorrow and our service wouldn’t blink.
  3. Nothing we are doing is in violation of their TOS, so we are not overly concerned about it.

Finally it would be financial suicide for the .ly folks to overly enforce their TOS (like some of the Sharia law stuff).  When $$ is involved on a international stage.. people tend to be more flexible on what is permissible. But when a site like vb.ly open flaunts it’s violation.. what do you expect them to do?

The reporting around this smacks of the”Keep em Scared” tone that sadly seems prevalent when it involves anything with Islam or the Mideast.

work ethic

September 21, 2010 — 1 Comment

I will out play you
I will out run you
I will out smart you
I will out hustle you
I will out work you.

I will never give up
I will never rest
I will never settle
I will never stop.

I built the stadium
I planted the grass
I painted the lines
I recruited the players
I filled the stands
I invented the game.

I am the champion of haste
I am the unstoppable force
I am the disciple of diligence
I am more powerful than pain
I am the will to succeed.

I am the of triumph intention.

Just something in case you folks needed a rally cry to hustle. Go get it, no one can stop you.

Poll after poll cite the publics low approval of Congress. And why would they feel any different. Numerous examples exist of our legislative officials NOT serving the American people. Look at the Health Care debacle. These spineless Dem’s (I lean left.. but these jokers in congress are flacid at best) could not even get a bill passed both houses with huge majorities. Congress has not passed any major legislation since the Civil rights act. Clearly it’s broken.

Call it influence of Lobbyist money, call it tacking to the center, call it corruption.. whatever. Essentially they play an endless game of campaigning in hopes of getting re-elected to continue the farce of they call governing.

Senators serve for 6 years (unlimited), House Members for 2 (unlimited). Term Limits could help, especially in the Senate.. cap to 2 6 year terms.  But Look at the House. The framers of our government wanted the House to be more receptive to the will of the people. Essentially they have to earn their job every 2 years or get kicked. IMHO this is why the House is usually more progressive, they HAVE to get stuff done.

Aside: Progressive is not a dirty word. Read 1 and 3. Don’t you want your government to change and adapt and look for new ideas to do something better?

Idea: Every Senate Seat faces an up or down vote in year 4 of the 6 year term. This is not an election vs. a competitor. This is a simple up or down vote by the states constituents on whether that Senator can EVEN run for re-election. They Lose, It’s an open seat in Year 6. They win an up or down vote.. Politics as normal.

For The House Do the same thing.. but do it in year 5 of consecutive terms. So if a Representative is elected and then re-elected 2x more.. in the middle of their 3rd term they face the up or down vote on whether they can run a 4th campaign.

Short of hard term limits, these Up or Down votes should continue infinitum. I don’t think “Career” and  politicians should exist in the same sentence.   It’s a public service. And when you stop serving the public, the public should get a say whether you keep your job.

Why do I think this is a good idea? Why not just vote for the other guy? Here is my reasoning. Running a campaign against someone is very different from running a campaign on why you should keep your job. What if every currently elected politician during a campaign could only talk about themselves and their accomplishments while in office.   Imagine if they were forbidden to mention the other candidates name. The public and they themselves would be forced to judge the man in the mirror. On his/her actions, on his ability to govern. All of a sudden this thing called accountability comes into the picture.

Every corporation/business has some sort of employee review procedure. You want a raise or want to keep your job… This decision is based on your merits. Don’t perform? You are out.  Whether you keep your job as nothing to do with how Bob from the next cubicle performs, or whether the applicant for your job is a liberal or conservative. You are accountable whether or not you keep your job.

When you can run a campaign based on pointing out the faults of your opponent, it becomes a game of “looking better then the other guy” when it should be a “look what I did in Washington”. An Up or Down vote forces this conversation to be had. Forces the politician to be judged on their merits of governing, not the skill of their campaign to find dirt on the other guy.


A slave to Stupid

December 13, 2009 — Leave a comment

When I was in grade school (socialist brainwashing camp) the teachers (mind polluters) I had really tried to teach critical problem solving (liberal bias) to us. Remember these:

screen-capture-1

The teachers were trying to teach problem solving skills to students. How to think through something. Look at one side, look at the other. Observe the situation. Then based on your understanding of Math (sacrilege), Physics (Witchcraft), or anything else,  you worked out the solution.

This seemingly simple act of critical thinking, even at an 8th grade level seems to be alien to so many Americans.  The Issues facing our generation are complicated and need to be looked at from both angles.

  • Surely we can not torture prisoners and still open a can of whoop ass when needed.
  • Surely we can adapt our energy production to more sustainable methods and not overly vilify the coal, oil, and gas industry.
  • Surely Gay couples can be given the same rights as everyone else and the religious can keep their ‘holy union’ called marriage.
  • Surely the mega rich could pay a tad more in taxes to repair our crumbling bridges and assist the poorest of the poor.
  • Surely business can adapt and still be profitable with reasonable regulation to safeguard consumers.

I mean.. surely we can look at both sides and find a reasonable solution for the greater good, right?

Wrong. It seems the the onslaught of stupid is overwhelming.  Can’t beat em, join em. I am taking off my elitist crown, burning my college diploma. These shackles of common sense will bound me no longer. The mere act of critical thinking in my presence will be met by loud shouts of “Fascist Baby Killer!” in your face. Henceforth I denounce reason and analytical thought. There is no middle ground. There is no Gray. There is only the enlightenment of the squawk box. Bow to our leader, the TV Political Pundit sees all and knows all.

  • Sarah Palin is the best thing for America. Moose Knuckle FTW.
  • Obama really should be tried for treason. Where does he get off being Muslim?
  • Climate Change is a myth. Those emails prove it.
  • We ARE less safe since Cheney left office. He was our protector after all.
  • The Earth is only a few thousand years old and will end in 2012. Dinosaur bones are a Muslim conspiracy to discredit the pope.
  • Jesus was NOT a liberal, he actually helped the moneylenders get pay raises. It’s called Trickle down economics.
  • Exxon really will lower oil prices if we drill baby drill! They promised!
  • Insurance companies don’t have death panels, it’s called underwriting.

And it just keeps going. It feels so nice to have all that nasty intellect and reasoning skills out my head. Finally I know the truth. I am going to watch some NASCAR now and email some Mexican wetback jokes to my hunting buddies while I pray for God to smite the Socialist Canadians.