I think a LOT of people here would do well to try to do some self development. I have been exploring this genre (if you can call it that) lately and it is actually leading me to believe that the hosting industry could use some real help.
I do agree with you here. Taking a macro view of the future is imperative to success, but not just in Web hosting. The problem is that many Web hosting staffers are "geeks" - trained to zero in on certain things. In other words, I'm agreeing with you that many hosts are still too focused on the technology. What the hosting industry needs are true business leaders, brand builders. I think we may have that in both GoDaddy and 1and1, which would explain each company's success, even in light of a barrage of customer complaints.
Technology is important, but perhaps it's being treated with a bit too much importance. Just some food for thought....
(Thanks, squirreldog, for starting such a great thread!)
Daniel B., CEO - Bezoka.com and Ungigs.com Hosting Solutions Optimized for: WordPress • Joomla • OpenCart • Moodle Data Centers in: Chicago (US), London (UK), Sydney (AU), Sofia (BG), Pori (FI) Email Daniel directly: ceo [at] bezoka.com
Guys, many thanks for sharing your thoughts here. I wasn't sure if this would be of interest or not.
First, let me give enthusiastic applause to the notion that meditation is not religion. Got nothing against religion, but meditation is the absence of thought, and religion is thought, therefore...
Moving right along, don't want to get too far off the subject of the forum.
Well Drew, we're all human, and can probably all use some help here and there, whether we work in hosting or not.
I don't think hosting folks are any nuttier than anyone else, but because we work in an industry that is really about service, we might need to be a tad saner than those working elsewhere, just to survive.
And wow, the computing experience itself is a trip, eh? It's like a pavlovian experiment training us to be impatient.
All day long, moment by moment, we are pointing, clicking, pointing, clicking and getting rewarded when the window opens, or the server restarts, etc. When you do it all day long for a decade or more, the process tends to shape your mind in a direction that isn't always helpful when dealing people.
Dealing with people is not a point and click get what you want right now experience. Perhaps you've noticed! :-)
Anyway, after 12 years on the Net, I find I need to attend to issues like this if I want to keep working another 12.
And I see that everybody has access to the same technology, and anybody and their dog can create a website.
It seems ever clearer that if I want to emerge from the pack in any way, the server that will give me a chance to do that is the one between my ears.
It's pretty cool in a way, all this technology, pushing us in to a corner, and forcing us to be more human.
All things are not created equal. Based on what you say the customer service is the only difference, but not so at all. Customer service is very important (even un-responsive sales will cause a loyal client to become un-easy), however what separates hosting providers is also the technology backend -- network quality, server quality, overselling, etc. The best customer service coupled with servers oversold so pages take 30 seconds to load isn't going to work for you either.
The "key" is to want to be the best at everything you do. If you have that drive you will succeed.
As far as meditation, I'm not sure I do quite that but I do lay on the couch in my office and stare off into space thinking about future directions, problems, internalized discussions, etc quite often. A clear mind does not sound productive to me
Matt Ayres - togglebox.com
Linux and Windows Cloud Virtual Datacenters powered by Onapp / Xen
Instant Setup, Instant Scalability, Full Lifecycle Hosting Solutions www.togglebox.com
Perhaps one way to look at it could be that those who are laser focused on the technology should be in the back room, focused on the technology. My personal favorite eccentric theory is that we'll see the hosting business dominated by women in the future, because women are generally better with people, and it's people that have the money. But somebody will still need to run the servers, so they can work for the women. :-)
A clear mind does not sound productive to me
Ok, an excellent premise around which the thread might continue.
It could get tricky here. If we explore this in much more depth, we will be heading in to subjects that will seem technically out of place on a web hosting board. Imho, these kind of topics lie at the heart of the subject, not beyond the boundaries, but others could understandably differ.
The thing is, on the Net everything is organized in to nice and tidy topics, but in real life, everything is connected to everything else, and there really aren't any boundaries.
Is it time for a host with friendly, helpful support people?
Very funny. I actually lost a customer due to my aloof attitude related to a downed server. His server went down and was taking quite a few hours due to a perfect storm (the kind of day when everything possible goes wrong), and I told him:
We are doing everything possible, but we are talking about physical machinery here and it does break. When it does break, we work to resolve the issue as soon as possible. In this case, everything that we attempt to fix the box hasn't gone as planned. You can rest assured that we will have your server up as soon as possible, but we will not be able to tell you exactly when, except that it will be sometime tonight.
That didn't go over too well with the customer. I guess the truth is too blunt for some people. Stuff breaks, **** happens, sometimes it just takes a while to get back up and running. Of course, it didn't help that the customer was completely uneducated about what he purchased; he thought that having a RAID array meant that he had redundant, load balanced servers. Ironic thing is that we had his server slated for migration to a newer box a few days after it crashed due to the age of the existing box. My aloof attitude regarding hardware failure is unique, primarily because I know the situation is out of my hands and it is just a part of the business and happens more and more often the larger and larger you get.
Many times I have been a cross with customers, but it's been appropriate to the situation - repeated AUP violations, late payments, etc. Other times, I have been grouchy 'just because' and clearly that's not the best way to be, but such is life.
My customers know that they can personally reach me any time, totally circumventing the tier 1/2 support techs we have in place to handle all the day to day issues. Those who do call me frequently enough know that I might be a little cranky, but I will get it fixed or have an answer for them. If they want polite responses, they can go through our normal support channels
Jay Sudowski // Handy Networks LLC // Co-Founder & CTO AS30475 - Level(3), HE, Telia, XO and Cogent. Noction optimized network. Offering Dedicated Server and Colocation Hosting from our SSAE 16 SOC 2, Type 2 Certified Data Center. Current specials here. Check them out.