We’ve become used to the idea that a fancy front desk, nice corporate stationary, and a bunch of stock photos – with smiling receptionists who are as wooden as those photos, is where you find stability. We’ve come to confuse polish with reality, and the evangelists of polish are always telling us the clothes make the company. For one thing, it’s easier for us to feel we have some power when all we have to do is evaluate the superficial “professionalism” of a company, and easier for us to obtain it when that’s all we have to produce.
It’s funny though – stability, from a server standpoint, has nothing to do with a web site that could have been cloned in India. It doesn’t even have to do with how many clients you have. Take Godaddy. They took serious heat for vocally supporting SOPA, and then backed down when a campaign was mounted to leave them in droves. They dumped the vocal support, but they keep right on acting as if SOPA had actually passed.
Stability? Your site can be shut down without even a note to warn or alert you, if a government agency complains to Godaddy about something it doesn’t like. Because that’s law? No – because Godaddy wishes it was. And they’ve been doing it to companies with vast numbers of customers who provide significant infrastructure on the web, essentially shackling independent companies to government extorted control.
They’re certainly big, but is that where you find stability? No, in this case stability lies with:
- Web hosts that don’t suddenly shut off sites, or do so at all just because Nancy the bureaucrat raises an eyebrow and they label it an “investigation”. No – didn’t happen to us – been happening to companies we deeply respect, though. Under these guys’ thumb, the web is turning back into an online ‘service’ like AOL (or Facebook if you’re under 20), with draconian measures happening to any company with a client that ticks off Zuckerberg or the like.
- Web hosts that are not dependent solely on the aging power grid, and that use renewable energy sources – so when a “28 Days” or “Resident Evil” scenario happens (like if the Republicans lose the next two elections and armies of Sarah Palins come streaming out into the streets looking for human flesh) you’ll at least be able to blog about it and maybe get an e-mail out to the ex- saying “I told you so.” Or maybe order some spaghetti sauce from amazon.com – prefer a scary neocon scenario? OK, so Obama is elected again and the entire Muslim world attacks, and we’re converted to Islamo-socialism. You want to keep your shopping cart working then, don’t you?
The point is that if you’re basing notions of stability on the corporate cultural qualities of the brochure, you’ve fallen for another kind of fundamentalism, with Jimmy the stock photo model that looks good in a suit but is a female stripper on weekends standing in for the televised pastor of wealth like a virtual Joel Osteen. Hey, you can’t fix religion. You just have to let it runs its course. So OK, but part of jobhacking is unpacking that stuff and asking if it really holds water.
The grey suit once typified business respectability too. In the 1950s, as King writes in his new novel on the JFK assassination, business was king and if you wore the right suit and said the word “business” it was like that explained everything people needed to know. Until Enron, the Bank/Corporate Bailouts and Bernie Madoff. And then you knew your father was full of sh*t, unless he was telling you that stuff was bunko all along.
One more stab at this. Stability now lies in:
- Freedom: The refusal to stifle creativity, innovation, and growth in the name of convention, power, and control. The assurance that opening the pipeline of new and different thinking in and about work is a predicate to the sales pipeline.
- Sustainability: The insistence that short term gain is for suckers, and long-term vision, including socially conscious vision and holistic, ecological thought is what will keep the economic grid alive.
If you didn’t notice, these are the same points as those numbered 1 and 2, above – just in more general terms.
We’re “investigating” stable web hosts at this time. When Youtube finally gave the finger to China, folks, you had to know the culture was changing. If you didn’t, you read the news but not the times – the events but not the meaning. They refused to be controlled, or let themselves be taken down because someone posts a video a party ideologue doesn’t approve of. Godaddy, were you not paying attention in class?
“Going forward” (to borrow some corp-speak), companies will stand facing each other along lines of competing cultures – those that trade profits for power and those that relinquish power for the sake of client loyalty and a shared consensus about freedom and sustainability. Google has made some questionable decisions lately, about their user interfaces that smack heavily of control – we’re not watching anyone with rose coloured glasses – but in general, when Google started jobhacking, it should have been a wake-up call.