At Tendenci we are aware of network outages at several data centers. They are being worked on. We are aware of it. We are working on it. Please be patient.
The image below is the world we live in and we are defending our network against it. Black Friday and Cyber Monday aren’t holidays around here – they are battle zones unfortunately.
We understand how critical your infrastructure is to you and take it very seriously. This is the world we live in now. (read more after the jump)
All of our technical people are working on bringing the clients on Tendenci 4 back online and not taking phone calls or emails as the issues are known. Some require moving large amounts of data which takes time. To not make backups prior to moving servers isn’t acceptable either.
The solution is, unfortunately, we will need to further bulk up load balancers and the already double and triple firewall, WAF (web application firewalls), virus scanners.
The new Tendenci helpdesk system has been a real eye opener for us. I fear we have let you down, actually I know we have, and I also know the blame resides squarely on my shoulders as CEO. Nobody else. If you have great people (and we do, and we’ve lost some of them now) and the results aren’t great to stellar then it is a SYSTEMS PROBLEM. And that is a CEO’s job. I can dissect it down to particular leverage points, staffing levels, transparency, lack of integrated systems, a naive belief in accepting suggestions from everyone without stress testing them, etc, but ultimately it falls on me.
So let’s be clear about who is at fault for our turn-over of late. Me. There are many things in hindsight I should have done to prevent it. It has cost me personally, professionally and on every other level. As a CEO you don’t get that luxury. Because it’s not about me, it’s about you. And isn’t that the real issue? It’s how it has impacted everyone else. We all count on Tendenci to just work!
I’m familiar with failure. It hurts more when it is your friends. I won’t sugarcoat that. Nor will I give up as I have an obligation to our clients and rebuilding is the only option, up to and including a few critical conversations to ensure a strong future for all of us. We need you, our clients and open source contributors, more than you need us now that we are open source and I fully get that.
LEARN FROM MY MISTAKES – NO PER USER PRICING
We liked zendesk, but as I have blogged in other places, I still view the per-named-user business model as a failed business model that is inherently unfair to clients and part time employees. The economics incentives of named-user-licensing is to create devastating silos of information to save 70 dollars a month for someone to just check in.
It is particularly harmful for remote workers who need to be able to see more information, not less, to keep up with those in centralized teams. The per-named-user-license model creates an economic incentive to do the opposite. “Does this contractor really need to use the toll road? Nah, let’s just assign them work and they don’t need to know the backstory or inside jokes of the office.” – see? Fundamentally evil.
Why did it take me so long to figure that out? #duh
I’ll grant you that some companies are starting to find a hybrid pricing model.
Hipchat has a great offering and, then, sure we upgrade for the 2 or 3 dollars per person to get the call functionality. That is reasonable. But we love hipchat internally.
Salesforce? Not reasonable. Long term contracts, integrators that don’t work and nobody held accountable. They aren’t so much “no software” as “software that isn’t as evil as Oracle.” – not a big differentiator IMHO.
Given a choice I prefer to work in the environment we program in – Python/Django/Postgres/Ubuntu and hence we went with Django-Helpdesk to organize and provide transparency and accountability. Drop in Django-Model-Reports and I can actually see the level of support my clients are receiving. And while clearly my responsibility, results are results and they completely unacceptable.
The data and timelines were just hidden. No more. You can’t manage what you can’t see and I can see it now. I will need some help from clients to copy their support email account to keep from reverting to silos again.
SIMPLIFY SIMPLIFY SIMPLIFY
For the helpdesk and ongoing projects in the shop, with candor, it may take a month or longer to dig out and create a refined simplified simplified simplified system. But we’ve done it before and we’ll do it again.
Thank to our clients for your patience. I frustrated a lot of clients and lost some great clients and employees as a result of not having systems in place. I apologize.
IT’S ABOUT CUSTOMER SATISFACTION
Yet as I have said many times –
“Clients don’t want great customer service, they want great customer satisfaction. They want the software to work so they don’t have to call in and get a quick response. They want it to work so they don’t have to call or email in the first place.”
– we need better systems. This is one of them.
We will be announcing partnerships to fill in and take care of holes made apparent by the extreme transparency of the new helpdesk system.
We will start with differentiation. Clients on paid support contracts should and will go straight to the top of the queue. Our old systems didn’t have the ability to filter and prioritize. Now we can. I will announce these partnerships, some with former Schipul/Tendenci employees who already are familiar with our clients and strict security systems.
We will do our best to forge ahead, rebuild the client contact and communication portions of Tendenci the company. Our technical team is still charging forward with long term goals rest assured. Like the return of the newsletter generator.
I thank you for your business, your contributions to the software, for being a part of the global tendenci team, and for not giving up. I won’t either. It’s not me or you, it’s us. #peace
All – we are migrating entire network including our dev servers and email relays this weekend, November 7,8,9 2014. That will be follow up by some structural reorganizations within the company as well to align our structure more closely to that of our evolving client base. Focusing externally instead of internally and improving prioritization.
You deserve details. I don’t have all of them yet. I committed to being more open about our communication and I’m sticking by that commitment even if it means I have to post something like “we are changing and stuff” because we are.
You’ll know more the minute I have made sure clients and employees are taken care of in the transitions to the best of my abilities.
DNS updates ahoy! If you see something unusual visit https://helpdesk.tendenci.com and submit a ticket or post on the forum. We love our clients. And we’ve been in business since 1997. For the backbone-crew of the company, you know, we’ve got a couple of years on us, and forgive us if we don’t remember every DNS entry for the last 17 years.
I am working to clean up years of cruft between the schipul and the tendenci aliases across all of our sites. It took me a while to figure out that the majority of sub-domain entries (like the “www” part of your domain) had long since been moved to production sites. So, forgive me, but I kinda went nuclear and just cleared out three or four hundred sets of entries from ten years ago.
HOWEVER, it is possible that you may have had a graphic or image using one of these old subdomains from 2005. Keep an eye out for that.
If this should cause a problem with your site it’s a great opportunity to clean things up. Which is why I did it on a Saturday night so it will replicate by Sunday and I’ll personally be monitoring the queue over the weekend (this is Ed typing.)
These changes literally go back to 2005 so my bet is nobody on your team will remember. But they CAN fix it with the template editor by fixing any old out of date links. You’ll score better in search engines as an added bonus and you don’t even need any help from us.
Or if you have the budget to prepay for mods, we can help. Of course we’d rather focus on building out the Tendenci platform. For free assistance visit https://community.tendenci.com but otherwise billable.
I thought I should give y’all a heads up about us clearing out the cobwebs from Halloween and encourage you to keep an eye out for anything that looks different. If you see it, please fix it. We can help, but that is billable obviously ( I wish my employees worked for free but they currently don’t. Nor do they donate money to the company. It’s a conundrum.)
As the CEO of Tendenci, the company and the software – I apologize for my lack of communication to you. I apologize to you -our long-time clients and our our new clients. I apologize to the developers who have deployed Tendenci on your own servers with little or no documentation and not posting public developer training.
No we aren’t going out of business. Been at it 17 years. Still here. Still serving my clients. Now expanding Tendenci to build a global legacy that is better than the proprietary vendors like Blackbaud while we still make a profit and grow. What else does anyone recommend I do that helps my clients the most? (Feel free to comment. But make no mistake, the tipping point is near. Open Source will win. Why should that be different for non-profits and association management software needs?)
Yes we are restructuring and that includes costs that go along with it. We’ve had some ups and downs and yes we are downsizing our offices in Houston and being inclusive of more remote team members.
True rumor – NO, Tendenci 5 does NOT have all of the functionality of Tendenci 4. Nor the other way around. They are different. It’s like going from a PC to a Mac. It’s different. Don’t convert if it isn’t for you yet.
And number 10….. yes, apparently people still actually read the paper. Didn’t realize I was newsworthy. Not sure if that is good or not. I just want to build Tendenci to “Connect and Organize the World’s People. Do Good.” Sorry if I messed up the PR part by having my head down laser focused on Tendenci.
I deleted the rest of this blog post to keep it short. Consider it my own test to myself to keep the dialog going. And I am committed to keeping open communication. Links and systems solutions in the next few posts.
PS. Tendenci is all about YOU! I get that. I deeply respect that. #candid #honest #servant