Nick Harris

NewsGator 2.5 – 10 Years Later

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I’ll get back to writing about what I learned with my Adaptive UI demo soon.

I have a little mini-vacation to Seattle coming up in a few weeks that I’m really looking forward to. The last time I was in Seattle was 10 years ago to the day. Its definitely a trip I will never forget.

I was 26 at the time and had just started at NewsGator in April. I had taken over the Outlook plugin (aka NewsGator Outlook) and was working closely with my co-worker Gordon who was building NewsGator’s RSS sync services. Both my client and the backend were built in C# using .Net 1.1. The Outlook plugin was the first to fully embrace the new sync services (which were all in SOAP cause that’s what you did with .Net at the time), so Gordon and I were in Redmond at Microsoft to migrate everything to .Net 2.0.

If you’re wondering about FeedDemon and NetNewsWire – NewsGator had signed the deal with Nick Bradbury for FeedDemon so he was an employee at that point. Things with Brent Simmons were still in flux and so NetNewsWire was not part of this release.

Now why we decided that releasing NewsGator 2.5 the week Gordon and I were both in Redmond is beyond me. Honestly I have no clue. But we did.

To say it was a disaster is mild. We crashed our FogBugz server that day. My friends (friends still today) that worked support recall their entire monitors being inundated with email notifications as support email after support email streamed in.

Gordon and I didn’t have much access to help. We spent our day at Microsoft answering emails from support the best we could and not making any headway with .Net 2.0. At the end of the day, and after a quick “happy” hour with a few people Gordon knew at Microsoft, we did what some overwhelmed, helpless engineers would do after a disastrous release… we got blitzed at some bar in Kirkland.

After we got back to Denver though I learned what really puts companies in a good spot even when they mess up.

Greg Reinacker had announced the new release on his blog and quickly followed it up with some advice for all those having issues. Everyone at NewsGator was full hands on deck that entire weekend doing whatever we could to make our customers happy.

Personally I love reading this first blog post and the followup after Greg, Gordon, Ronnie and I were involved. We busted our butts to do the right thing by our customers. Those blog posts are just the ones I can find 10 years later. There were many others at the time.

So that’s what I was doing 10 years ago today. Failing. We all do. Just make sure you learn from your failures and don’t let them stop you from failing again 🙂

Written by Nick Harris

June 29, 2015 at 5:03 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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