Zooomr, or is it Dooomr?

Posted on 1 Jun ’07 by Earl Moore

Just a couple of quick words on the Zooomr situation that has been unfolding the last 10-12 days.  If you don’t know Zooomr is down then this may not mean anything to you.  You can follow some of what’s occurred by reading the comments of the Zooomr situation on Robert Scoble’s blog.  A different but equally fair view of the Zooomr situation can be had by following the post and comments at Shelley Powers blog.

Here’s my take from 50,000 feet.

On the emotional side I feel great sympathy for Kristopher Tate, the tech guy behind Zooomr, and the super human effort he’s putting into trying to get Zooomr up and running again.  Of course everyone likes to see the underdog win against great odds.  With Zooomr being broken everyone just wants him to be successful.  There’s lots of users that are counting on them and a lot of emotions involved. I would like to see a happy ending to this story.  Zoho and Sun should be commended for helping.

On the other hand, as an IT Manager and programmer with over 25+ years of experience keeping systems up and running under any circumstances I have no sympathy for any IT shop/service letting themselves get into this mess.  It’s unbelievable poor planning and management.  It’s irresponsible and there should be some accountability.  It deserves to fail.

In any professional company this situation would guarantee the firing of the responsible management.  If Zooomr survives it will have been saved by “who they know” and not “what they know.”  I’m not sure that the real lessons here are being learned.

(Added/updated – 06/01/2007 11:02pm) It appears that this rallying around the flag just goes to support the premise that with Web 2.0 it’s not only okay to not have a feasible business plan but it’s also okay to have no type of technology plan that guarantees the servicing of your users.

I personally would have to think long and hard before I would place my photos in Zooomr’s hands.

Update:  06/05/07,  2:26PM  – Reality Sets In

Getting the photo service Zooomr back up after the recent crash was done so under the emotional rallying cry of “Saving Zooomr.”  Now that the service is for the most part back up, reality is setting in for those who led this charge.  I reference:

Robert Scoble’s update post; and

Zoli Erdos most recent post.

It’s becoming clear that at this point all that’s been accomplished is that the service is back up on shaky legs.  It’s real problems have not been addressed.  As stated above, Zooomr needs to have a clear business and technical plan and some decent management if it hopes to survive and prosper long term.  That’s what really caused the crash…the server was just part of the results.

Zooomr’s crash last week may have been a good time to have addressed these core issues.  By doing so then, even if it meant being down for a longer period of time,  it could have provided clear answers that spoken strongly to it’s problems without riding the emotional train.  Now it must do so while also trying to keep the service running under less then idea conditions. I don’t know if Robert’s rally did them a favor or not.

I observed some of the “circus” that was broadcast on Ustream.tv.  Kristopher Tate seems to have been totally alone in trying to manage this.  It’s understandable that his only direction would be to get the service back up as soon as possible and I give him Kudo’s for doing so.

As far as part-time CEO Thomas Hawks unprofessional performance…it would be best for him and the service if he distanced himself and found someone to take over who knew what they were doing.

I think Zooomr could still be successful, but not under current management.

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