Do You Have a Failover Plan?

I thought it was funny when I saw a Tweet come through from Alex Payne (aka @al3x) this afternoon. Alex is something along the lines of the Big Daddy Architect at Twitter. The tweet stated that power was out at Twitter HQ and that they had failed over to abacuses.

Picture 10.png

That’s not really funny, actually.

Actually, in my time as a contractor for some random alphabet soup government agency, we regularly went through “hotsite” drills where a core team would disappear to Chicago or New Jersey or somewhere offsite and in a different geographical region to perform disaster recovery drills.

After 9/11, the companies like JP Morgan that had decentralized their operations, were able to recover from the World Trade Center attacks much quicker than those who did not. Maybe those who did not were small businesses.

Which reminds me of the day the email died at the Wall Street Journal…

We’ve been through a fair bit ourselves at b5media. It was bad when our service provider, very early on and before funding, allowed a power surge to fry our servers. It was a “death to our enemies” moment when another power-related failure occurred two weeks later. Our question: Why the heck is there even a hint of power failures in a data center?

Sadly, that question never was answered before we moved to LogicWorks after taking funding.

But this is not the point.

As a small business – what are you doing to mitigate catastrophic loss? Are you relying on simple backups? Are you shipping data offsite in case you need to do a data recovery? What happens if your data center is in NYC and another terrorist attack happens and takes out your systems?

What do you do? Is it in your plans?

If all else fails, there are always abacuses.

Read More

What Makes You Tick?

This weekend I was at Podcamp NYC 2. This is my fourth podcamp and second in two weeks. As someone who gets to go to a lot of events, conferences, unconferences, networking thingys, etc. I decided going into this trip that I would treat this thing differently than normal.

Normally, I’m speaking or otherwise outgoing and talking to everyone and anything that moves. As someone with some minor celebrity, this is usually not a problem. At SXSW, I was on my feet running for four days straight conducting interviews and being interviewed, having long lunches with bloggers, entrepreneurs, continually running into The Brogan(TM), etc.

In New York, I made a conscious effort to listen way more than I talked and take a low profile approach to the event. Two of my observations, I’ve already blogged.

My discoveries really stemmed from watching how people interacted with people and thinking about what the causes were that made people behave the ways they did. Armchair Psychiatry.

I observed people with significant fan base interact with fans and peers and the differences between fans and peers. I observed people who started businesses explaining why exactly they did what they did. I talked with people who had no idea what the hell they were at and how they wiggled their way out of uncomfortable conversations. I witnessed sales guys who were so New York cool that people could be convinced they needed to do business just by his say so. I witnessed people who just wanted a man. Or a woman. Maybe both.

What makes people tick? What causes them to do what they do? They say that who we are today is a product of everything we’ve ever done in the past. So what did the past look like.

This weekend, for me, was largely one based around the human experience. We are all so widely different and that is fascinating.

Read More

Contrived Transparency

There is way too much talk about transparency going around. Seriously. I’m guilty. Apparently, 40,292 other people are also guilty.

Picture 9.png

Transparency is one of those buzzwords people like to throw around to demonstrate that they’re savvy in the business of social media. If we have a blog, says one marketing strategist at XYZ company, we’ll be seen as transparent.

Transparency. See through. Invisible. In social media, it means that we’re open and honest. We don’t try to pull the wool over customers, or users, or readers eyes. We trust openly and want to be trusted openly.

However, this is more often than not, contrived.

Picture 8.png

Contrived transparency indicated that this notion of being honest and open is not a culturally accepted thing in a company. It’s a strategic decision made to drive sales. It’s a devious, and by it’s very nature, non-transparent way of saying, “You’re stupid enough to believe that I’m a great person to do business with because I’m doing all the right things and sending all the right signals”.

Yep. Contrived transparency.

Guy: Maybe when we’re done here, we can go back to my place.
Girl: Sure, but you do know that I’m not going to sleep with you on the first date, right?
Guy: Oh, I wasn’t thinking that at all!

Yeah, right.

Read More