Upgrades are fickle beasts. Sure, they’re great in concept, but if you’ve ever experienced an upgrade of any form, you would know that the process of pointing at something shinier and better than what you currently have and saying “that’s mine now” is never that simple. There’s costs associated with your upgrade, the stress of making that transition to something new, figuring out what to do with the old thing, finding the time to put together all the great things that make your upgrade worth the effort, telling everyone else about your upgrade, saying a few prayers to ensure that the upgrade works as expected, and eventually, after all the madness, you get to sit back, relax, and bask in the warming glow of all that work and time and say “oooh, that is shinier.” But within seconds you have to maintain that upgrade, learn that upgrade, upgrade that upgrade into something in the “Shinier 3000” lineup because technology is just a jerk like that (iPhone users will understand) and no matter what, someone, somewhere will look at all the culmination of all that invested energy, unimpressed and say, “it was just fine before, so why change it” with the kind of frustration and ferocity that leads to hilariously catchy spelling mistakes.
And so begins the Legend of Updrage.
If you’ve talked to anyone at GearHost in the last few months, you’ve probably heard us mention an upgrade to a new version that’s designed to put us in that futuristic “Steve Austin” age: better than we were before. Better. Stronger. Faster. Bionic! (not really, but I needed a gag) If you’ve talked to us multiple times in the last few months, the term “upgrade” has pretty much become synonymous with “hopefully this week.” Oh yes, we are very much aware, though, it hasn’t quite reached “drinking game” status yet.
Now, as much as this can look like a slam, I assure you, it’s quite the opposite. We at GearHost have made it no secret how excited we are about the changes we’re planning and the effect it’s going to have for our customers and I admit, I can’t help but look down and sigh when I utter the phrase “we’re really hoping to see v3 in the next week” to someone. That’s the nature of an upgrade: it’s shinier and therefore we want it to be ours, now. However, too often in the technology world with companies like Apple and Facebook, we seem to pay the price by not respecting the unexpected need for patience.
In my personal life, I’ve had a single major goal: own a house by 30. It was a goal that I was excited about…until the age of 27. What fun would it be to upgrade my apartment to a house! More space, more freedom, more control, A LAWN! But as I had to really start planning, I took a good solid look at everything going on with me and had to exude some unplanned patience. I needed to accept that there were a lot of ducks I needed to get in a row first and if I cared more about the timeline that I set than doing things correctly…that house was going to be a burden more than an upgrade. It is a bit of an investment that I can’t really just go back on without severe ramifications.
So when I look at the “GearHost Upgrade Saga” and I think about everything going on right now with blogs, staff increases (of which we added another amazing support engineer this week), hour increases, newsletters (we’re starting that up too), a ton of new business, training, and pretty much everything I’ve mentioned in the last three blog episodes, I don’t mind this upgrade carrying out a little longer. We have a lot of ducks right now. Managing that and putting extra time to make sure version 3 is done correctly as opposed to “on schedule” is actually quite refreshing…and this is exactly why:
Once upon a time, there was an upgrade. Don’t worry, it wasn’t a GearHost upgrade…that one’s hopefully this week…(sigh). Out of fear of feeling “outdated,” the makers of this company’s program put out regular upgrades designed to keep people regularly excited about the forward momentum of the product. These upgrades were shinier, but shinier in the way that a dime is shinier than a quarter. They were sparkly and fun, but not as valuable. Time was more important and as a result, some upgrades were released without regard to whether or not they worked…or benefited anything.
For this company’s upgrade, a specific feature was “improved” that drastically changed the overall function of that part of the program, which was met with pushback by a user who had to learn about this the hard way. As the task of what was once a simple issue ultimately became a convoluted series of workarounds that an entire upper level support team worked to resolve, the user got more frustrated and all the value that was supposed to be added by the sheer existence of an improvement became worthless and mildly embarrassing.
This ordeal lasted 16 days. Back and forth with no resolution until the tension reached a boiling point with the following response: “WHY DOES IT TAKE SO LONG TO FIX SOMETHING THAT WAS WORKING JUST FINE BEFORE YOU "UPDRAGE"?”
The support team was nervous about this response, as angry responses with all caps tend to do to an unsuspecting agent. But after a whopping two and a half weeks of aggravation, of trial and error…and error…and error, of invested energy, of complaints and arguments, of missteps that wouldn’t exist if the company just got all its ducks in a row and focused on the value of its upgrade instead of its timing, it all led to this one legendary response; one with the kind of frustration and ferocity that led to a hilariously catchy spelling mistake.
And suddenly, “UPDRAGE” was born. Upgrade-created rage. Born of a disconnect, a race for time, a shift in priority.
Really, for GearHost, for something this big…it’s more important to get it right.