Tag Archives: beanstalk

Moving off SendGrid

I’m not going to comment specifically on the substance of the SendGrid and PlayHaven mess because it’s complicated and completely out of hand already. It’s a pretty sad situation for everyone.

But as it turns out, I am a SendGrid customer. I use the free plan to send email in a few of my web apps. I started using SendGrid because they offered it as a simple Heroku add-on, not because of any particular research or opinion about what they were doing well.

So it’s a good time to move away, to a company that I can pick based on merits and attitude and not just because it was the default choice. I’ve long been a Beanstalk customer; I use it for all my private Subversion and Git repositories. The makers of Beanstalk, Wildbit, have a second product similar to SendGrid that looks like what I need: Postmark.

Wildbit also had a good blog post yesterday from some of the aftermath of the controversy as it relates to SendGrid (and Postmark) competitors:

“We’ve been doing this a long time, 13 years as a company, 8 years since launching our first product. There’s this rule, this gentleman’s agreement I thought existed. When someone you compete against is suffering, especially as a result of any kind of infrastructure issues, shut up and keep your head down. You do not use this situation to gain a few customers eager to jump ship.”

I like what I see in Postmark. I’ve set up an account and should have my apps switched over to Postmark this weekend.

Fast customer support

Three years ago “I wrote the following”:http://www.manton.org/2007/02/customer.html about customer support:

“Most people who buy Mac software from independent developers know that it’s only 1-5 people behind the company. We can’t compete with the Microsofts and Adobes of the world on application size, but we can compete on quality customer service. _Being small is a competitive advantage_.”

Seems reasonable, but the fact is that many small companies are struggling to keep up with the support load. “Jesse Grosjean recently downgraded”:http://blog.hogbaysoftware.com/post/468160055/support-expectations his support expectations for customers. From the official site:

“I’ll answer basic questions and license key/order issues as fast as I can. I also appreciate larger questions and feature suggestions, but I’m finding that I no longer have time to answer them all as I used to (mostly). I promise to read and consider everything, but you may not get an individual response.”

I’m a huge fan of Jesse’s TaskPaper and his minimalist approach to Mac development. He is very honest with customers and encourages participation starting with early beta versions.

But it can be damaging to set support expectations too low. Here’s what a support page says about support in “Pastebot”:http://tapbots.com/software/pastebot/, another one of my favorite iPhone apps:

“We try our best to answer every support question. But please make sure your question hasn’t already been answered in our FAQ. If you email us with an issue that has already been explained in the FAQs, we may skip the email.”

This seems slightly backwards to me. The questions in the FAQ are the easiest to answer! I respond to those immediately. It’s the hard questions for which I don’t have a good answer yet that usually take the longest time or are more likely to fall through the cracks.

Is the weight of support for iPhone developers just too much? TaskPaper and Pastebot are both very popular. I guess we can all hope to be successful enough that we find out.

Meanwhile, I had a question for “Beanstalk”:http://beanstalkapp.com/ yesterday and received a response in just 19 minutes and an additional follow-up response in under 10 minutes. I like to show off impressive companies, so I tweeted how fast their response was. “Their answer”:http://twitter.com/Beanstalkapp/status/11270045214 to my tweet? “We’re usually faster.”

Yep, that’s the right attitude. Set your standards high.