Rackspace: The Case of Core Values

In the last days of September 2014, Rackspace customers were faced with multiple issues regarding service uptime, security concerns and network outages. The worst hit were the ones who were using Rackspace’s Chicago datacenter.

I happened to be one of those customers. This is my story.

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Ubuntu One closes down

With Ubuntu came a new feature … Ubuntu One. I chanced on it at pretty much the same time as Dropbox, and ended up opting to use Dropbox instead. However, there was Ubuntu One instantly integrated with all of my Ubuntu installations … there was some merit in this system.

Did I purchase it, no. I did not pay for this service since for the same price (free), there were far many other services providing more space (Dropbox can give you upto 20GB, so can Copy). Suffice to say that I am aware about Ubuntu One, but never really depended on it for my file sharing/saving needs.

Today, I saw this mail in my inbox –


We are writing to you to notify you that we will be shutting down the
Ubuntu One file services, effective 1 June 2014. This email gives
information about the closure and what you should expect during the
shutdown process.

As of today, it will no longer be possible to purchase storage or music
from the Ubuntu One store. The Ubuntu One file services apps in the Ubuntu,
Google, and Apple stores will be updated appropriately.

As always, your content belongs to you.  You can simply download your files
onto your PC or an external hard drive.  While the service will stop as of
1 June, you will have an additional two months (until 31 July 2014) to
collect all of your content. After that date, all remaining content will
be deleted.

If you have an active annual subscription, the unused portion of your fees
will be refunded. The refund amount will be calculated from today’s

We know you have come to rely on Ubuntu One, and we apologise for the
inconvenience this closure may cause.  We’ve always been inspired by the
support, feedback and enthusiasm of our users and want to thank you for
the support you’ve shown for Ubuntu One. We hope that you’ll continue to
support us as together we bring a revolutionary experience to new devices.

The Ubuntu One team

Lesson to be learn here –

Even if you are closing down, do so with grace and always inform your customers about when you are closing shop.

I will not say I am sad to see this, that would be lying … in fact this is the nature of things, either you consolidate into a bigger service or you go down.

Are we that difficult?

This is a rhetoric question.

In the month of December, it was decided by us that the rate at which we are able to generate leads by SEM are not enough and we need to outsource this function. Obviously, my SEM team was a bit disheartened, however the demands of the business have to be met and I consider it that if someone can do a better job than me, then its better to learn from that instead of sit behind and sulk.

Come January, we initiated talks with different firms and decided on one very well known firm who is known to have automated campaign management and ergo large scale capabilities (this is the one point in our campaign management where we were facing problems). The entire month of January was sadly wasted in the sales person of the agency we contacted being in travel and not closing this deal. Finally, in the month of February we agreed upon a contract and we signed on the dotted line.

The eagerness to help our marketing campaign then suddenly seemed to vanish! Post that day, I haven’t even heard from the sales chap who followed up with us (or rather whom we followed up with!!). We were introduced to a technical wiz who would take care of all our campaigns. We waited for more than 20 days for him to completely take over our campaigns … but the only change done till that point of time was simply changing the landing page URLs so that they can track the campaign performances (our campaigns that my team had done) through their system.

When you are in the middle of a peak season, you want business and not inaction. We demanded faster turn around times and a strict schedule. We would follow-up with their team and get them to deliver on time. Over a period of time we realized that most of the work is still being done by us. At this point I could not stand it any longer … this firm apparently is the market leader … they have a team as large as us working solely on Adwords … I have 2 people (that’s including myself!).

Inspite of this, if this organization cannot deliver a better performance in campaigns … then it makes sense to tell them to take a hike … or even better, me to start a new organization!

What followed was a heartfelt email (though a bit harsh) to the co-founders of the organization (who were by this time involved in this account). One of the co-founders emailed back saying that we are being too demanding on this team and its dragging their team morale down.

At this point, it struck me … are we that difficult to work with? Or is the industry not able to deliver and working on castles in the air?