Lunchtime Links: Cloudy With a Chance of Downtime

What you can gain from Netflix's holiday outages. Also: learning from a poor member-welcome experience.

The cloud has a ton of benefits for businesses, but there is one key disadvantage: It goes down.

And when it does, people get frustrated—especially when it’s preventing them from watching holiday-themed programming on Christmas Eve.

It is still early days for cloud innovation and there is certainly more to do in terms of building resiliency in the cloud.

The lessons Netflix took from its downtime, and more, in today’s Lunchtime Links:

When the cloud breaks … On Christmas Eve, Netflix went down, and hard. The company’s Adrian Cockcroft, writing in postmortem, describes what happened in great detail. (Amazon was partly to blame for the downtime, for which it apologized.) “It is still early days for cloud innovation and there is certainly more to do in terms of building resiliency in the cloud. In 2012 we started to investigate running Netflix in more than one [Amazon Web Services geographical region] and got a better gauge on the complexity and investment needed to make these changes,” Cockcroft wrote, emphasizing that the company would work harder on it in 2013. Obviously, this is a nightmare for any company, especially one that has built its reputation on reliable streaming. How would your association handle a similar crisis?

Doing it wrong: On his Idea Architects blog, Jeffrey Cufaude cites a poor membership-welcome experience he had with an Indianapolis-based museum and shares what it can teach associations about their own membership-building experiences. “Even though the museum now speaks to me as a member, I remain just a joiner,” he writes. “They have my money, but they can’t be sure they have either my attention or my future participation. They’ve left me in a potentially passive state when they should have intentionally converted me into an active participant or contributor: how about a simple ‘here are three upcoming events you won’t want to miss.’ ” Do you convert with your membership welcome emails?

The feeling of hitting a goal: As we pointed out just before the holidays, association professionals know a thing or two about resolutions, and meetings professionals are the same way. Shelly Alcorn, CAE, argues that we shouldn’t just make resolutions, we should set goals. “This year, maybe as association professionals we should set some really amazing goals for ourselves,” she explains. “Even if nobody else knows exactly what we are doing and why. And then work really, really, amazingly hard to reach them. Push the obstacles out of the way and make good things happen.” Have any goals in mind for your association in 2013?

Watching the trends: There’s a bit of overlap between our list of 2013 trends and BusyEvent’s, but there’s a pretty good one that might be worth keeping in mind as the year gets going. “With the ability to easily determine what an attendee wants – and then deliver it to them – the ability to source attendee opinions will be critical,” Brian Slawin writes. “By crowdsourcing and viewing their likes and opinions it is the attendee who has the power. So don’t forget who needs to be pleased at your next event!”

What cool stuff have you been reading today? Let us know in the comments.


Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is a senior editor for Associations Now, a former newspaper guy, and a man who is dangerous when armed with a good pun. MORE

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