Marketing in the Cloud is Doing Just Fine

Quite a big deal was made recently about salesforce.com’s 38 minute outage last week. I have to say I agree with Paul Greenberg, when he said calling “the cloud into question because their servers were down for 38 minutes is a little bit of an emotional overload.” 

People are quick to blame the cloud when there is more than a few minutes of downtime, calling its reliability into question. What most people do not consider is that internally hosting an application does not give any better guarantee of uptime. For many businesses it probably increases the liklihood of an outage. At most companies that I have worked for the Internet, VOIP phones, apps hosted on internal servers, and other services had outages at least a few times a year. Human error, catastrophic failures, and acts of nature can strike even the most ironclad systems. In the grand scheme of things, 38 minutes for salesforce.com to get everything back up is pretty impressive. It is also great they put up an explanation on trust.salesforce.com, which is not something that most vendors would do.

On a personal level, I just recently moved this blog from the installed version of WordPress to the hosted version. Why on earth would I want to spend time installing security patches, managing the hosting for it, or any of the other headaches of installed software. WordPress.com of course has expertise in managing its own software. I also use a SaaS CRM, marketing automation platform, project management tool, and community management system.

For Marketers with Short Attention Spans

I need to make some SEO improvements… finalize ad placements for late 2009… write a blog entry… look, a bright shiny object. Where was I?

I feel like a lot of marketers are like me: they wear a lot of hats and have a lot on their plates. As such, I am eternally looking for ways to stay organized and have tried quite a few recently. Here’s a quick rundown of four tools I considered and the ultimate winner:

Our corporate CRM (salesforce.com): 

I really just need a glorified to-do list, perhaps with simple milestones and reminders. The CRM can easily handle this but it adds quite a bit of complexity to that process as well — definitely overkill for what I needed. 

Simple Project Management Tool (Basecamp by 37Signals): 

This is getting a lot closer but it still feels like a bit of overkill for what I need and doesn’t show up quite right on a mobile device. I do absolutely love Basecamp for group projects though and am an avid user. The folks at 37Signals improve the platform pretty rapidly and make great choices to keep it from being bloated with features that 80% of us do not really need. The have put together an excellent book that explains their product management philosophy and it is a great read for anyone building anything (but particularly a SaaS product). 

To Do List Manager (todoist.com):

I had previously taken a look at the above-mentioned 37Signals’ Tadalist, which was great because of its simplicity and also its pricetag (can’t beat free!). It also looks great on an iPhone. Then I found Todoist, which seems to strike the right balance between simple (and free) and robust. It allows for very easy organization of to-do items, prioritization, sub-items. They have widgets and plug-ins for OS X, iGoogle, Firefox, and Gmail and a pro version allows for proactive notifications of deadlines via basically every medium you could imagine. Todoist also boasts an API allowing you to make your own apps that pull and push data. If they come out with an iphone app (they have a mobile site but it is a bit lacking currently), they will be perfect for me. Again, it’s free and definitely worth a look if you are looking for something to replace the post-it notes on your monitor. 

 

To Do List Manager

Todoist: To Do List Manager