Seth Godin & The Force
Is it all his fault? Yes and no. Being cheap with technology and going with a trashy server company is all our fault. Yet, when it comes to funky strategies and loads of attention, it’s all his fault. Without Seth there would be no trend map. Without the trend map there would be no attention. Without the attention there would be no server problems. Ironically, it was Seth that gave our server—the only and last trashy thing at iA—the death blow.
Traffic was pumping harder and harder, Kottke, del.icio.us, The Guardian, Libération, and hundreds of bloggers had jumped on the trend map. As a first line of defense, we transferred all the heavy files to formforce, our Spartan fileserver. We had a more advanced machine that we could activate at any time, in case the going got tough. On Sunday, the going got tough.
Unfortunately the new machine had the memory management of Ronald Reagan in his final years. In fact, the “advanced” machine was a piece of junk.
While more and more people wanted to access the trend map and our system was on his last legs, Seth Godin decided to write one of his “riffs” about us. And then we were down for the count.
Do or Do not—There is no Try
iA went down while I stayed up yet another night to find a way to get the site back up. All the while mailing and calling Verio, who was politely telling us that it was all our fault. Fact was, there was something wrong with our system. How can you explain that the more expensive server package couldn’t deal with a tenth of the traffic the cheaper package handled before, all while using the same system?
The Dark Side
Nevermind who’s fault it was, to have such a nasty interface is definitely Verio’s fault. How can a hosting company be so careless about their interface? Is the brand experience of a hosting company not 200% in the interface? The longer I had to use this user insult, the more it made me aggressive:
Even though they told me that I had to figure it out by myself, the people on the phone were very friendly. But this interface. Taking its insult while under stress is just too much. And the interface pictured above is just one out all these nasty interfaces they have. I counted seven total. They all look different. They all work different. And they all don’t work.
A New Hope
Thanks again to Paul from Snap Shots who offered to host our site on their servers for free. In hindsight I should have accepted that offer right away. Instead I tried to get it back up. This morning at 11am, Tokyo Time, iA turned to the Dark Side of The Force.
For now, iA will cool down in formforce’s shade until we get more power from Joyent.
They Don’t Know the Power of the Interface
I should have known: go with the company with the nice interface. The worst things always happen when you don’t follow your own advice. So why did I overlook Verio’s nasty interface? I thought they must have good technology. They only know and care about technology, that’s why. I was tempted to use Joyent, which looks more like the company we would associate with, but I thought maybe they’re not technological enough. Funny, eh?
But not funny when they get you like that. Truth is: Verio is just plain incompetent on the user front end. After all, a hosting company is not just tech guys and servers. It is a lot about interfaces. If servers had better interfaces one wouldn’t need so many tech guys.
Now, let’s see what happens if I follow my own advice. Is Joyent, with a better interface also a better brand? If they care about their back end as much as they care about their front end, then yes it is. A good interface is not just about appearance. It’s thought through. It’s careful. It works. Oh, and by the way, uncle Seth, we love you, but we won’t let you reduce the trendmap to linkbait. It actually works on more levels than that. Maybe you can give it a closer look.Ð