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Github Entertains During Its Outage

Github OutageBy the time you read this, the issue my be fixed, but today when I went to install Joplin, I was greeted by this amusing picture.

Apparently, Joplin is hosted on GitHub and they’re having an issue today.

Now for me, this was not a critical install.  I have Joplin running on other systems and if I really had to get some info out of it, I could do so.  And if things were really bad, I probably could search around for the .dmg installer or I may have it cached somewhere.

But what if you’re a business whose business depends on the code you produce?  If you had customers breathing down your neck or were dealing with angry executives, is showing them a rainbow-hued pink unicorn going to calm them?

“Yes, Mr. Smith, I realize we have dozens of developers standing around idle and we can’t push out that new critical customer feature, but sir, the Unicorns have taken over.  Yes sir.  It seems quite serious because Unicorns is capitalized.  What’s that?  Drop by badge at the security desk on the way out.  Yes sir.”

I’m guessing if this was Microsoft (I mean, it is Microsoft since MSFT owns GitHub, but I mean if this was Azure or Office 365), there would be a message like

“Dear valued customer, we apologise for the service interruption and deeply regret any impact.  Our engineering staff are working to resolve the issue.  Please contact your Premier Support Representative or consult our Standard Procedure For Dealing With Issues documentation.”

With a prominent Microsoft logo, of course, and probably a few links to buy things.  I put in the British spelling because of course this message would be translated into every language on Earth.

IBM would probably say

“We have encountered a 4702 ABEND ABORT.  Please open a J-23/6 ticket with IBM Global Crisis Support Synergy Center.”

But then IBM was never strong on marketing & communication.  Google?  They’re offended at the idea there would be an outage so they have nothing prepared.  And of course, Oracle is Unbreakable so they don’t need an outage message 🙄

Facebook?  Not sure…perhaps they’d have Angela Lansbury offering a friendly and comforting smile since I think FB is entirely senior citizens now.  Snap?  “Bra, our cameras broke.”

I’m not sure what the best “we’re down” kind of message is.  On the one hand, if you go too zany, you risk offending business customers because you don’t seem serious.  Businesses who are handing you millions of dollars want to know that you take their needs very seriously and I’m not sure pink unicorns send that message.  On the other hand, generic “technical difficulties” screens are kind of a missed opportunity because peoples’ eyes immediately glaze over.

Maybe the sweet spot is a message that (1) apologizes, (2) communicates that all urgency is being focused on the problem, (3) provides information on when the last update was, and when the next update will be available (everyone seems to miss this), and (4) does something to ameliorate the brand damage.

I don’t know what exactly meets this.  It isn’t pink unicorns.  Maybe there’s a consulting business in the future designing outage screens for Big IT.





1 Comment

  1. This article was way more entertaining than the Unicorn. :D

    February 22, 2022 @ 1:03 pm | Reply

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