Our service is down because Microsoft Azure is down. This is how we chose to react.
Running a cloud service surely has its challenges, but I believe it’s the future of consumer products and most technology in general. We (Soluto) rely our service on Microsoft Azure, which we chose as our scalable big data platform because we could build stuff really fast on top of it using our favorite tool: Visual Studio. We now run on hundreds of machines and deal with close to 100M data transactions per day from which we extract quick fascinating insights for our users, which is fun and cool.
For over 24 hours now, we’re down. It’s horrible. Seeing Google Real-Time Analytics show this image is.. well… heart breaking at best, and murderous-thoughts-invoking at worst.
But every cloud provider has its glitches, and to be frank, every software or hardware company ever has had its glitches. We know people are working hard and around the clock to fix this failure, so instead of complaining, we decided to send our community to transmit positive karma in the direction of the people spending their weekend restoring the service instead of with their families. Who knows- maybe it’ll speed the restoration process :)
Here’s the post we published on our Facebook page:
Hi all, sadly Windows Azure is still down which means we’re still down. Here’s how you can help: go to Windows Azure and write on their wall that you love them and appreciate the fact they’ve got people working hard around the clock during the weekend in the holiday season to restore our service. Wish them luck and send positive karma their way :)
What do you think? Would you act differently?
Great work Visa, now I HATE you
Last week I jumped to London to watch the Olympics. Being a huge sports fan the experience was amazing, but there was one thing that drove me crazy.
The London Olympics has several sponsors, most prominently Coca Cola, McDonalds, Visa, Samsung and Acer (when I say “prominently” I mean their effects are felt everywhere through the games).
Before I flew, I discovered that McDonalds’ terms of sponsoring included that no one else in the areas of the games is allowed to sell french fries, unless they come with fried fish (because the classic dish of Fish & Chips could not be banned in the UK). But besides the Fish & Chips exception, no one is allowed to sell french fries around the games. Which pissed me off.
But that didn’t even come close to what Visa did.
Those folks up there at Visa sponsored the Olympics under the limitation that no other credit card could be used to purchase stuff in the Olympics, from a cup of coffee to an official hoodie. If you’ve never been to such an event it’s hard to imagine how huge the venues are, and once you entered a stadium in the morning, you’re not allowed to exit and return with your ticket. Which practically means that once you’re inside, you can either use Visa or cash, that’s it.
And that REALLY pissed me off. As a consumer, I was abused and insulted. On the practical level, I hold both a MasterCard and a Visa, and the terms I get when using my MasterCard in Europe are better than my Visa (in the USA it’s the other way around). But losing a few pennies was not what pissed me off. It was that a major consumer brand chose to abuse simple folks as a way of marketing. And that’s just stupid. Getting a credit card is not something you do in a minute, certainly not in a foreign country. So Visa couldn’t really expect international visitors holding other cards to actually switch to Visa on the spot, right?
What did they expect them to feel? “Oh my gosh, Visa is so awesome, I wish I had a Visa card, when I return home I’m going to get one ASAP”? No!
More probably, like myself, they would say “Why would those assholes do such a thing? They already have their logo smeared all over the place, what did I do wrong to be banned from using my credit card in the largest touristic event in London in the past decade?”
The marketers at Visa are probably more experienced than me, but I still want to give them a small marketing lesson:
If you want people to like you, give them something. If you want people to hate you, take something away from them.
I understand that maybe this campaign was aimed solely at UK residents to switch to Visa, but I still find that abusive.
So what could Visa do? Again I’m not an expert on credit card marketing, but if you follow the bold sentence above, Visa could just appeal to Visa owners by giving them something. A discount for using Visa. A special gift for buying with Visa above some amount. Whatever. As long as you’re giving something to your customers, and not taking away something from those who aren’t.
So great work Visa, now I HATE you.
[I spend my days and nights working at the tech startup Soluto, trying to help people enjoy their PCs. Have you tried it yet?]