If you talk to anybody in my family, or Jen for that matter, they'll say I'm a proud buyer for brands. Nike, Sony, Samsung, Apple and the list goes on. This is for good reason too; I've run into too many situations where I went for the cheaper option and found myself in a world of trouble.
Yet, what happens when the brand name piece of equipment fails at just the wrong time? It's happened. The reaction is usually a lot more profound, and a lot harsher. Dare I use the cliche, "the bigger you are, the harder you fall."
Bringing it back.
The title once again says Media Temple, and I'm sure there are some haters out there that are sick and tired of hearing me talk about them. Well, I still don't understand why you're here, maybe you can join the people that think I rip and jump on the daily bandwagon.
Anyway in all seriousness, I have to apologize myself, since I did feel quite bad about recommending a service that had a few growing pains. Well, more than a few. You see, I have a lot of faith in this brand, and I've had one of the best hosting experiences with them. Hence why, for example, they host Nyxsis. I could have easily gone with a cheaper server, but I'm willing to pay for those intangibles - such as service, reliability and piece of mind.
But that really wasn't the case here, and on multiple occasions, I felt it myself. So much so, that I felt like eating my words. But you never lose faith in brands you trust. Like the New York Knicks, they suck, and they might always suck, but I still love them.
Communication is an obligation.
For those of you not familiar with the phrase (brought back from my college days), corporate responsibility, let's poke Wikipedia:
Corporate Responsibility is a term that has come to characterize a family of professional disciplines that help a corporation stay competitive by maintaining accountability to its four main stakeholder groups: customers, employees, shareholders, and communities. The professional disciplines included in the Corporate Responsibility field include: legal and financial compliance, business ethics, corporate social responsibility, public and community affairs, investor relations, stakeholder communications, brand management, environmental affairs, sustainability, socially responsible investing, and corporate philanthropy.
Now I'm pretty sure I just lost everybody. Let me bring things into perspective. The most important parts of this definition in Media Temple's case are stakeholder communication and accountability. By using a service on Media Temple, you are a stakeholder, and Media Temple has an obligation and a responsibility to communicate to you situations that are going right or otherwise. On the same note, any good company should be able to take accountability for it's own actions.
Thankfully, Media Temple has taken the first step towards better communicating with their users - they launched a blog. I had a few talks with Alex, one of the people in charge of "damage control", and I stressed that something like this should have been done. I was glad to find out that they were already working on it when I brought it up.
Was this the right move?
You see, they know what they've done wrong. Many companies would rather take the "it's not a bug, it's a feature" route, than to ultimately admit that they were wrong in their actions. While previously, the only way to find things like this out were through the grapevine or through a support request, now you can find them out directly from them.
However, it's ultimately not the blog that is the important step here. The thing to take from this is that you have a company that already has a lot of business trying to improve the experience for every type of user they bring in. They haven't shut down service on a single person during the initial launch of the grid servers. Even people who were taking our sites down with 1,000s of MySQL queries on a simple WordPress page were never kicked off. It's because Media Temple knew they could do it, and they would set out to prove that their system could handle anything. Honestly, that did put them in a bit of a bind. But rather than close the door on users who were taking down the servers, they took the time to give them advice on how to bring those problems - queries in this case - into submission.
So what's next?
A lot of people have given these guys a lot of flack, saying that it was all hype, and the list goes on. But like any good company, these guys are really working around the clock to solidify this service. What boggles me is that they even have the time to push out new technology, such as Python containers so that perfectionists with deadlines can finally host applications on a grid server or health monitors to keep track of their server. It's working those extra hours to make sure that problems are solved that makes me admire these guys. Sure, everybody does it, but there's something about the environment in that little Culver City office that just screams "continuous improvement."
Only time tells how decisions like this play out. But like a lot of people, I'll keep using the service, dodging the bumps along the way.
So, even if that one Sony controller breaks, I'll still play my PlayStation. Even if my Nike sneakers give out on me a bit too early, I'll still buy Nike. Even if I got a slew of kernel errors while playing on Nyxsis, I'd still buy an Apple. And even if I got a MySQL error while writing this post, I'd be mad, but I'd still use Media Temple. At least I know they're putting the same amount of effort back into us (if not more) when we've invested so much effort in them. That my friends, is corporate responsibility.