27 August 2007

[bloggage, design] Adobe Systems and The Maxim of Ten Attaboys

920. One thing a very wise fellow taught me by example a long time ago boils down to a maxim that makes esteemable sense:
"It takes ten 'atta-boys' to make up for one 'aw, crap!'"
It goes right to the heart of experiences between the consumer and a producer...or, really, anyone, if you think about it.

I believe it was Lily Tomlin who said "Remember, we're all in this alone." Scarlett O'Hara, if memory serves correctly, expanded on this view by noting that she had always depended on the kindness of strangers. What, to me, it all gets down to is trust. We may have the most amazing friends in the world, but if we can't trust what they say, then we don't actually have all that much. In the case of transactions on a more mundane (but still important) level, if we suspect that the people who provide us products and services don't completely have our satisfaction and interest at heart, then we may well use their products and services, but we do so in expectation of a possible disappointment of some sort and the expectation that we may be on our own in dealing with it.

Without trust, the feeling of community disappears, and we are on our own–all in this alone.

It's a fragile thing.

I say the above because I'm continuing to explore solving the Contribute CS3 blog connection conundrum. There has been a deveolpment.

What Becomes a Legend Most

The maxim of the ten atta-boys is at work in two levels in this situation; that of the Blogger crew and that of the Adobe crew.

As much as the help from Blogger goes, this is the downside. I've built up at least ten "aw crap" moments with them in trying to get help on my occasional problems. Fortunately, in the case of RSS feeds, they seem to resolve themselves. On anything else, me and many users are on our own-alone.

And, while it's a fair point that Blogger offers a free service, I would also point out that that's their deal, their terms, and I don't think offering a service for free necessarily means I should be expected to accept substandard service–especially when there is no terms of agreement anywhere that I can find which states I must, and further more, there isn't a pro or premium service that grants me more efficient answers to my problems. There's just one level of Blogger service.

Moreover, Blogger is owned by Google, which has some of the most blazingly intelligent minds in IT today working for it–and is doing well enough that they certainly should be able to detail some employee might that's committed to making Blogger as near flawless as possible for even Contribute users (and Safari users, for that matter), instead of "Blogger Employee" who might–or might not–or probably will not–respond to a complaint.

For me, it just doesn't add up.

Now, on the Adobe end, my impression from other users and my own experience is that Adobe cares very much that the software they produce work creditably and have traditionally been willing to try and bend over backwards for their customers. This perception of Adobe is currently being reinforced; a mere few days after submitting my bug complaint to the Contribute team at Adobe I'm getting email from one of them asking me to provide more detail on the problem.

So, on the one hand, Blogger staff have failed on making up for the "aw crap" that I've experienced from the service. And Adobe, in responding in a quick manner to my bug report, is trying very hard to make up for the "aw crap" that Contribute has delivered me. And here's the upside for Adobe; if the problem can't be resolved (this is a hypothetical) then Adobe still has my goodwill and trust, because they cared enough to try. Adobe could conceivably fail at resolving my problem now and I would still think highly of them.

While I think Blogger is still a kickass service which I enjoy a great deal, I have decreased faith in their ability to solve problems for their user base, and quite possibly care little about the problems some of their users have. With Blogger, to a degree, we are all in this one alone.

Adobe's up at least five "attaboys" with me and is, I'm confident going to make it back to ten; I don't worry about them.

I'd love it if Blogger would try to start making up at least two or three "attaboys".

And so it goes.

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