High expectations with a low tolerance for frustration typically make for cranky customers. The web has turned the vast majority of wired people into cranky customers. I just cannot accept that my (insert application name here) is not working or accessible to me right this instant. I can think back to just a few years ago when an outage of a Google service was a minor annoyance and did not make me cranky in the slightest. Now, I am upset and frustrated if I get the “page cannot be displayed” error message for more than five seconds. I, like most users, feel let down when a service provider has any problem that affects our usage of their service. Almost everyone expectations have been raised over the last several years by all the great web applications and service levels. We, the web users, all now border on unrealistic.
Admit it, you know a few people that picked up and moved right across that boarder. You wave at them from time to time, that is, when they are not ranting about some site that is messing with their customers or other such nonsense.
I work in IT, so I understand what managing infrastructure is like. It is a thankless job where the only time you hear from anyone is when there is a problem, and the users are chanting for your head on a stick. I have now become one of “them,” the complainers, and I am currently looking for my pike and torch to join an angry mob. My current gripe is with a site that I use frequently, but it will not allow me into my profile settings page, so I cannot integrate it with another site. Can you believe how annoying it is when you cannot access one site’s content from another site? Seriously, I know this is trivial at best, but it is indicative of where I think we are heading.
The demand for perfect uptime is getting ridiculously high. When the maximum acceptable system downtime is 1/10 of 1%, things start to get complex to say the least. My hat is off to all the great engineers out there who work their tails off tirelessly to maintain the crazy uptime percentages that we users demand. The truly sad part is the demand for perfect uptime is only gaining momentum. Which you could say, is great for the cloud and the broader adoption of virtualization and distributed computing of sorts.
See, every dark cloud does have an unseen benefit for some enterprising company.