Puffy customers

May 9, 2012 everything else
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Hey ego man with 10 followers, shut the fuck up. This guy too.

What is it with people now-a-days and their “Do you know who I am and I’ll talk bad on twitter about you” bullshit. I had a customer, mind you a $20/mo customer, pull this card today.

Please terminate page.ly service and reverse the original credit card charges. If you check the correspondence with [REDACTED] on our behalf, you will see your organization’s work and responsiveness has been completely indadequate. It took us one day to accomplish with a new hosting service what we were unable to accomplish with you in a week. I am willing to write this off as a bad day/weekfor you, if you simply reverse the credit card charge, despite the hours wasted and stress you crated for us. If you think on review your service was adequate, I will happily debate you on that topic in a more public place.

The emphasis is mine. First let me say, we dropped the ball and we take full responsibility. The setup took longer than it should, and when it finished file permissions were wonky, and to top it off our our management system would not authorize the client. A grade A clusterfuck for sure. We fixed it up though, over a few days and 3 tickets. Not our best moment, but we took care of them.

If this customer had stopped writing before that last sentence I emphasized. I swear before you I would have polished his ass with my own lips in heartfelt apology and humility. And there would not be a story here.

Instead they got this response from me. We of course take responsibility for the problem and issue a full refund, but they also got a heavy dose of snark:

I looked back at the tickets from [REDACTED] and you are correct, we did drop the ball on getting things taken care of in a timely fashion. We’ll happily terminate the account and refund the payment. We stand by our product and our service, and if we don’t come through on that promise it is our fault.

I would like to also add that your threats of taking things public are not the best way to achieve you end goal. Perhaps you were burnt in the past, and some evil company maybe got the better of you and stole your lunch money. So you may had called them and had to wait on hold for 3 hours and missed your soccer game or something. And you may have sworn, right then: “this will never happen to me again, so I am going to flex my muscle next time and use this thing called the internets to have my revenge. I can use twitter and facebook, and I will say bad things.. and that will teach those mean people to mess with me” On that day you may have decided to reclaim your honor, and you might have taken your @aol email address out into the wild of the internets, head held high, just waiting for the day someone was even going to even think about messing with you.

But truth be told, you had a bad experience at page.ly, and we feel bad about it. Cause you know, we are people too. And we dont like feeling like we got taken advantage of so we try every day to deliver the best product and customer support we can, and if we fail we are wise enough to own up to those mistakes and try to make it right, regardless if the customer on the other end threatens some lame bullshit about telling their social graph they were unhappy.

Thank you for giving us a try, I am sorry it did not work out.
I will cancel the account and refund the payment immediately.

NOT my finest work, but this is how we deal with bullies at page.ly. Every once in a while we get the tough guy that for whatever reason (right or wrong) is ready to start a social media flame war over some real or imagined transgression. That’s really what they or anyone else is doing when they pull the “I’ll take this to twitter” card, they are being bullies. Alec Baldwin lost his shit when a flight attendant made him comply with federal regulations, for some reason he was above the law made a PR nitemare for the airline. Real nice Alec.

So how do you deal with this in your own business?


Talk from WordCamp PHX 2012

April 1, 2012 entrepreneur'isms
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Funded? All your soul belong to us.

December 30, 2011 entrepreneur'isms
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I spent the better part of the last 3 years building our 3rd business from revenues and sweat. We went from an idea to sustainable, growing, and profitable business. It was not easy, nothing ever is. At times we flirted with taking funding, had offers on the table, and sought out a few commitments. Even had 2 larger companies approach for us for an early acquisition. Ultimately though we chose to stay independent.

During this same time a close friend of mine left a huge internet company, founded a new startup, raised 10′s of millions in VC, folded that startup in what they call a ‘soft landing’, and started another one. He was convinced he needed funding for the new project. I doubt my words made any real difference but I tried to steer him away from it. He did the math and ultimately decided to tell some of the biggest names in the angel and VC world he would forgo their cash for few months to see if this idea had legs.. and was met with utter contempt.

With VC  you gain cash, and the ability to spend it. You do not gain the assurance of success. And all along you have to deal with other people telling you how you should conduct your business. Meh.

As bootstrapper you have earned the freedom and independence to make your own mistakes, revel in your own success, and work you ass off. The success or failure is 100% yours.

Why is this important to me? It allows me to build the company I want to see. One that does not push useless upsells on their customers to maximize profit, one that can operate from a mindset other then win at all costs, one that has integrity and character. Sure a few extra 0′s in the bank would come in handy from time to time. But I also like knowing that every 0 in there was a result of choices that were made with our values in mind. The soul of a business runs through every aspect of it. Your customers, your employees, and the public at large sees it for what it is. Good and bad, motivated by greed or passion, acting like asshats or elegant problem solvers.

When did “funding” become a mark of success? The argument could be made it is the direct opposite. Yes, we all see the big IPO’s, those 1 in 1000 that make it. The other 999 would likely have been so much better off either flaming out early, or working through to a real solution to a real problem and making real revenue. We live in the age of the zombie startup. It should be dead, but instead just pivots with every dilution.



December 29, 2011 everything else
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This IS amazing. Hat tip @joestump

Someone make this infographic

October 26, 2011 entrepreneur'isms
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I have a hunch that the majority of startup centers in the nation lean left.

SF, Austin, NYC, Boston, Boulder.. predominantly vote blue in presidential elections.

Infrographic: Graph the last 5 presidential elections and the number of startups, or successful startup exits, or successful startup IPO’s by city. We know tech is an easy one, but what about finance, energy, or bio tech. Are certain types of startups more red or blue?  Is it based on geography or industry?

I have a feeling liberals are better  (high paid knowledge economy) job creators over the last 20 years.

Be dangerous

September 12, 2011 entrepreneur'isms
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This came thru the GangPlank backchannel today.


We interrupt your regularly scheduled programming to remind you that it’s okay to “Be Dangerous’.

The warning signs of defending the status quo

When confronted with a new idea, do you:

  • Consider the cost of switching before you consider the benefits?
  • Highlight the pain to a few instead of the benefits for the many?
  • Exaggerate how good things are now in order to reduce your fear of change?
  • Undercut the credibility, authority or experience of people behind the change?
  • Grab onto the rare thing that could go wrong instead of amplifying the likely thing that will go right?
  • Focus on short-term costs instead of long-term benefits, because the short-term is more vivid for you?
  • Fight to retain benefits and status earned only through tenure and longevity?
  • Embrace an instinct to accept consistent ongoing costs instead of swallowing a one-time expense?
  • Slow implementation and decision making down instead of speeding it up?
  • Embrace sunk costs?
  • Imagine that your competition is going to be as afraid of change as you are? Even the competition that hasn’t entered the market yet and has nothing to lose…
  • Emphasize emergency preparation at the expense of a chronic and degenerative condition?
  • Compare the best of what you have now with the possible worst of what a change might bring?
  • Calling it out when you see it might give your team the strength to make a leap.



September 10, 2011 rants
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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.


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