A Rebuttal

There has been some conjecture lately in my email inbox, on Twitter, and most recently today on the NewsGang Live podshow (a show I call into probably more often than people wish) that I am somehow working for Rackspace/MOSSO – or that I am positioning myself to work for Rackspace/MOSSO.  Or that I am getting kickbacks from Rackspace/MOSSO.

So let me clear things up very quickly – right now both Rackspace and MOSSO work for me.  I am THEIR customer.   They need to please me. 

I have several clients hosted on Rackspace.  I manage 12 servers on Rackspace.  And as of a few weeks ago I have an account on MOSSO.  I am a Rackspace Partner  What that means is that I do enough business with them that they assign someone to take care of me.  His name is Abel, and he does a wonderful job.  I enjoy talking to him, and working with him.  But don’t confuse things – Abel works for me.  The Chairman of Rackspace, who I met just recently, works for me (and one of the reasons I respect him/Rackspace is because he realizes this).  They all understand this – I am their customer.  Their goal is to make me a happy customer. 

And they have.  So I’ve done a few posts lately talking about Rackspace and MOSSO.

That doesn’t make me a shill for either of them.  I found companies I like to work with – ones that are willing to work with me.  Companies that show a mutual respect.  And until about a month or so ago I never met one of them in person.

It is true that I have blogged about them more since I have met them – since I toured their facilities.  Since they hosted an event.  But that’s not shilling – that’s just me learning more, which gives me more to share.

I invited FastCompany/TV (Robert Scoble) to San Antonio to meet up with some local tech companies – one stop shopping for a half-dozen videos.  It was a win-win-win.  Robert wins (a lot of videos in one place/one day), I win (San Antonio tech gets featured – my initial goal), and the covered companies win (exposure).  Nobody loses.  I love deals where nobody loses.

To my surprise, Robert accepted – but I had no plan for that eventuality.  So I contacted Rackspace PR – which I had done only once before, and that was as a favor to someone else, completely unrelated to my areas of expertise or my business with Rackspace.

And Rackspace did what I could not do.  I blogged about this earlier – I am NOT an event coordinator.  I could not have put this together.  Rackspace did – and they did it well.  They provided physical space, appropriate gear and Internet connectivity, and food and drinks.  To host an idea I had only a few weeks earlier.  So Rackspace (Halli, I DO so respect what you do) stepped in, stepped up, and just made things happen.  She basically told me, “Tell me who the companies are, make sure Robert gets here, and we’ll do the rest”.  And she did.  Rackspace did.

But none of that makes me “owe” Rackspace anything.  Nor do they owe me anything – beyond what my clients are already paying for, and receiving.

So you might wonder where this rant comes from.

In the last few days I have had 11 people tell me they thought I was going to work for MOSSO/Rackspace and that my coverage of them was somehow related to that – and that is absolutely not true. That doesn’t mean I may never work for one of them (or both, even).  But there have been absolutely no talks about me working for Rackspace or MOSSO.  I have not brought it up, they have not brought it up.  I will not say that I will NEVER work for them – life throws curves, and that’s a promise that I can’t make.  In fact, if I DID decide to go back to work for a big company Rackspace/MOSSO would be high on my list – because I respect how they care for customers.  And people that really know me know that I love customers – I like helping them.  Even the angry ones.  As long as I am empowered to.

So I was a bit surprised that so many people thought I was going to work for Rackspace/MOSSO just because I wrote a few positive blog posts about them.  If you read my blog you will find that I can be brutal to companies that let me down – and that I do praise those I really like. 

Rackspace I like.  MOSSO I didn’t really learn about until after Scoble left – and then I kicked myself for not making sure he met them.  But Rackspace, being a gracious host, didn’t want to push themselves into “my show” – even if they were running it (and no, nobody told me that – I’m just guessing – otherwise they would have had Scoble meet with MOSSO while he was here).

So two things – I have a lot of respect for Rackspace.  I had a lot of respect for them as a hosting company before I met them.  Now that I met them I respect them more.  So I have blogged about them more.

And MOSSO?  I found out about MOSSO after Robert left.  And I was blown away, and still am blown away – not just by their product, but where I think they can take the product in time – it is not your average hosting platform.  I have already thought of interesting ways to serve my customers (and save them money) by using MOSSO.  After Robert was back in California I Twittered him about MOSSO, and sent a link to my blog post on MOSSO.  Robert thought it was interesting enough to link to.

And that (almost) ends my story of Rackspace/MOSSO.  I say almost because while it is absolutely true that I have not applied or been offered (or even discussed an offer) with Rackspace I DO still have business interests I am pursuing with Rackspace.  But zero talk of me becoming a Rackspace/MOSSO employee.

And that is not shilling for Rackspace.  If I like a company, I’ll talk well of it.  If I like it a lot, I’ll talk a lot about it.  If you show me MOSSO I might even fucking *gush* about it.

But I won’t sell myself out and shill for you on podcasts – or on Twitter, or anywhere else.  Not unless it is crystal clear to everyone that I am getting paid to do that.  And that isn’t the business I am in.

So when I mention MOSSO and someone suggests I am “working for them” – you are wrong.   And that happened today and it didn’t piss me off – it did hurt  a bit.  I thought the people I was talking to thought more of me than that, knew me better than that.

I am as open on my blog as a guy can be that has two teenagers.  Once they are a bit older I’ll be a bit bolder.  But that will be about personal things.  When it comes to business I am almost (within NDA – I don’t talk about my clients) completely open with you. 

If I have a conflict I’ll tell you.  If I don’t have a conflict, but am accused, I’ll leave a little rant.

Like this one. 🙂

And yes – I do think my next post will be about Rackspace – but mostly because FastCompany.TV just posted the Rackspace video (and I think Rocky did an awesome job!) – AND – my motorcycle actually makes it into the piece.

How cool is that?


MOSSO, Take Two (already!)

OK. If you haven’t read my previous post where MOSSO blew my mind, go read it now.  Then be prepared to be REALLY blown away.

I said I could create one domain that runs Windows and another that runs Linux – all on the same account.

I said I could run Windows with MS SQL or with MySQL.

I said I could run Windows and Ruby on Rails, or Linux and Ruby on Rails.

All of that amazed me.

But I had NO IDEA that I could run, ON ONE DOMAIN .Net, PHP, MySQL, and MS SQL.  I didn’t realize that my .Net app could talk to my MySQL database AND my MS SQL database.  Or that my PHP app could talk to my MySQL and MS SQL databases.

That my Linux apps could talk to my Windows databases.  And vise-versa.

All on the same domain.

All on the same domain!

I didn’t realize how many choices I had, and how many ways I could serve my clients all on one box – regardless of the application, database, Operating System, etc.

I honestly need to sit and think for a while because I have no clue how all of this can be true.  Just thinking about the back end that serves this is making my head spin a little bit.  The front-end – the part *I* work with is just DROP DEAD EASY.

I’ve got a feeling the back end is a bit more complex 🙂

The back end is where the BMVS (Black Magic Voodoo Shit) happens.  And it is some serious magic.

In my F.A.Q. page I say DesqView X is my favorite software ever.  Because it was magic.

But I think I need to update my F.A.Q. now.  MOSSO is making my head spin.

It honestly seems impossible.

And if I would not have been lucky enough to just talk to one of the inventors of the technology I probably still wouldn’t believe it.

My brain must rest.

Amazing.  After being at Rackspace all day yesterday, and visiting their new site the day before, I was already wondering if I shouldn’t just go work for them.  Rackspace is an amazing company.

But now I know.  If I leave consulting, I am applying at MOSSO.

It is that freaking cool.

When upgrades go bad

My host (1and1.com) performed an “upgrade” to my server overnight.

broken-computer I woke up to a dead web server.  I could FTP in, but a dozen domain names were down.  For HOURS.

And what did this upgrade give me?  What was my “benefit”?


NONE of these things interests me whatsoever.  So there was no benefit to me to have this “upgrade” that killed my web sites for hours.

In related news, after meeting with the Rackspace team this week, I am trying out MOSSO.  From the MOSSO site:

The Hosting Cloud is advanced technology made extremely simple. The applications you load on the Hosting Cloud immediately and automatically inherit clustered processing, load-balancing, and redundant storage. The moment you upload an application, it’s set to scale across an entire fleet of computers. There are no devices to think about or servers to configure. You don’t install an operating system, you simply select one. You don’t administer the underlying systems, you develop your own unique applications.

In fact, we built the Hosting Cloud to meet a unique set of goals designed to make the process of web development faster and easier:

It had to be “device-less.” There are no servers, VPSes, operating systems, or devices for you to setup and configure. Simply upload your application, and you’re off and going.

It had to scale automatically. It’s hard to predict when you’ll need to scale quickly, and really, you shouldn’t have to. Because clustering is built right in, the processing powering your application simply surges when your traffic surges.

It had to be flexible. Who are we to pick the technologies you use? We chose a far better approach: to build best-practice environments for lots of technology, so you can choose the framework that best fits your needs.

It had to be easy. You can launch a new application with almost no setup. Just use our online software to provide the domain where your site or application will live and then pick the technologies you want to power it. The entire process takes about five minutes. We even do some DNS magic so you can get started before your domain name fully migrates.

It could never be obsolete. Most importantly, the Hosting Cloud is a dynamic environment where you are automatically provided upgrades, patches, and even new technologies without any effort or migration on your part. That’s a sure cure for server obsolesce and a welcome change if your current provider charges you month after month for an aging setup they racked a year ago.

MOSSO costs a bit more than my current server – about twice, actually.  But for the scalability, ease of setup and management, and the Fanatical Rackspace Support (REAL PEOPLE ANSWER THE PHONE!) I think it may just prove to be worth the added cost.

I won’t be moving my main domains to MOSSO to start with.  As I learn about the platform more, and build up a sense of security with it, I may move everything to MOSSO. 

I certainly would have paid the extra $50 today to not be down for 6+ hours!