I'm Parker.

Downtime is Good

I just started working as an intern at 6Wunderkinder a couple weeks ago. I am by no means an expert in devops (hell, I have only dabbled with a little sysadmin in the past - nothing too serious) and I don’t really know what goes into keeping a huge series of servers up and running. I can say, however, that I know the customer’s side of things. I know what it’s like to be a user of a service which periodically goes through downtimes of noticable lengths – don’t we all?

So today there was a blip of downtime for Wunderlist, a really awesome task- management application by 6Wunderkinder. During this downtime, it occurred to me: downtime can help the visibility of an application or service.

Hear me out: when the service is running smoothly, few will actually talk about it. When it goes down, Twitter blows up with complaints and “ZOMG MY LIFE IS OVER” tweets. These tweets, in a way, promote the service. The more frustrated the tweet, the more apparent it is that the tweeter cares about this service.

As one who sees these frustrated tweets often about many services, I can only conclude that a little downtime here and there is a great way for outsiders to gauge how awesome a service is: if it goes down and people are upset, then the service is probably worth trying out (once it goes back up again). If the service goes down and no one cares, then it probably isn’t worth your time.

So next time you see angry tweets, write down the name of that service and check it out once everything is back in order. In all likelihood, you will like the service, too, and you’ll be angrily tweeting next time it goes down.

It’s all about perspective.