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The ServInt Source

Awesome job, Desert Bus for Hope!

Desert bus imageShortly after midnight this morning, a crew of bleary-eyed gamers and assorted other cool people set down their joysticks and counted the money they’d raised for the Child’s Play charity. After 158 straight hours of playing history’s most maddeningly idiotic video game, Desert Bus for Hope had raised more than $635,000.

To this, as the humble provider of free hosting for the Desert Bus for Hope gang, we say:  HOLY SMOKES!  Oh, and: you guys are incredible.  And thanks.  And — we can’t wait until next year.

Seriously, you guys are amazing.  Thanks for letting us hop on board for the ride.

To the rest of the world, we say:  it’s always a good time to donate to Child’s Play — if you missed the barely controlled madness of this year’s Desert Bus event, don’t wait another year to donate — go do your part today!

My Son’s First Linux Command

3038629479_cdf1017a4e_bMy son is five years old and a digital native. For the last year or so he’s been saying that he wants to develop video games when he grows up. I’ve acknowledged his desire, telling him that he can develop video games, but that he’d need to learn how to write code and work hard. When he recently brought up his plan again I finally said, “Okay, lets do it.”

We sat down and talked about what he wanted his game to do. His first idea was a Minecraft type game with dinosaurs, I told him that was a good end goal, but that we needed to start smaller, something simple. I asked him what he wanted the goal of his game to be about, he said slaying a dragon. Then I asked him how he wanted the game to start, and he chose waking up in a cave. We then began designing our text-based adventure.

I used this opportunity to teach him the echo command. Echo is the simplest of commands, returning whatever string of text or variables is typed into the command. It’s also a great command to use to learn your first script. Read more

So you want to talk to ServInt’s COO?

photo-mgt-christian

ServInt’s COO, Christian Dawson

It’s not often that we pull back the marketing curtain here at ServInt and expose the inner workings of why and how we choose to engage with our customers, but today is a special day.

If you follow us at all, you know that we strive to put out blog posts, knowledgebase articles and white papers (like this one) that educate, inform, and answer important and popular questions, and we use Facebook, Twitter, and occasionally paid advertising to get that content in front of our audience.

We also, of course, keep an open ear to our social media outlets and engage with customers who want to talk with us there.

We enjoy talking with you through social media channels, and we think it’s important.  So does our Chief Operating Officer, Christian Dawson. That’s why — starting today — he’s asked us to let more key ServInt employees drive the conversation on Twitter, with Christian taking over as the primary voice of ServInt’s Twitter feed. Our goal is that as time goes on, you’ll get more perspective on who ServInt is as a company. Additionally, if you want to talk to the guy responsible for all of our day-to-day operations — the guy who manages the managers — all you have to is reach out to us at @servint.  Christian will be the guy reading what you have to say, and, unless he’s not available, he’ll be the guy responding too. And if he’s not the right person for the job, he’ll be pulling in the people that are.  We expect some interesting discussions to follow!

The marketing and engineering teams will still be on ServInt’s Twitter feed posting updates on the content we publish and watching out for technical questions we can help answer. But know that if you have a question for our leadership, or if you just want a friendly chat, Christian is on the case!

ServInt at 18

servint at 18Saturday, ServInt turned 18 years old. That’s a lifetime in this industry – basically the entire life of the commercial Internet. I am writing to specifically congratulate Reed Caldwell on the accomplishment of building an organization from scratch that now, if it were a person, would be considered an adult.

I wanted to write this article because I’ve been here since the very beginning, watching ServInt grow from an idea Reed had while in his college dorm room at the University of Richmond. I was also attending UR where I was one of his closest friends, and even then a close adviser and sounding board for his ideas, which at times sounded crazy to me. But sometimes crazy ideas work, and are what drive us forward!

Reed was passionate about the way the Internet was exploding back in 1995, and about giving people the tools to build their ideas on this new, exciting platform. He was so passionate that he decided he was going to lay it all on the line to start his idea for a company. Read more

The ServInt Way

Managed hosting companies live and die by the quality of their hosting customer service. At ServInt, we’ve succeeded for 18 years because we always try our best, and our best is some of the best in the industry. No company can be perfect 100% of the time on every interaction, but that must be the goal.

We’ve written about hosting customer service quite a lot on the ServInt Source, but this time we thought you might find it interesting if we shared one of the short lessons we teach internally to help build customer advocates out of all our staff members. We just want to give you a little peek behind the curtain. We demand that everyone at ServInt give their best to the customer. How we teach them to do that is called “The ServInt Way.” Read more

And our Second ServInt Sextant Award Finalist is…

As the summer sets in, it’s time to announce our second finalist for the 2012 Sextant Award: TLC – The Treatment and Learning Centers. TLC truly exemplifies the spirit of the Sextant Award.

Named after a trusted technology that has helped humankind find its true course for nearly a thousand years, the Sextant Award honors ServInt customers who focus their efforts on charitable endeavors for the greater good. These companies plot a true course to show us what kind of company we should be as well.

TLC

This quarter’s finalist for the Sextant Award, The Treatment and Learning Centers, is a nonprofit organization that offers a wide range of educational, therapeutic and vocational services for persons of all ages with disabilities. Among their specialties are early intervention services critical in diagnosing and addressing developmental delays, learning disabilities, hearing loss, autism, and other conditions that interfere with learning in the early stages.

TLC truly embodies ServInt’s corporate values of creating possibility and inviting challenge. Their stated mission is to “improve lives and expand possibilities for individuals with special needs.”

The Sextant Award involves all of our customers

Four times a year, we pick a finalist for the Sextant Award from among our customers. All finalists receive three months of free ServInt hosting and a chance at winning the grand prize, $5000. In December, all ServInt customers will be given the opportunity to vote for the organization that they believe best embodies the Award’s values.

Read more about the award and our first finalist.

Congratulations to TLC, and thank you for the inspiration and important work.

Photo by SonnyandSandy

Customer Interaction at ServInt

In addition to providing you with valuable information and hosting industry news weekly here on the ServInt Source, many of you may not realize that we have an entire suite of customer engagement tools that are at your disposal.

ServInt on Twitter

ServInt has two twitter accounts, the longstanding @ServInt corporate feed which we use to engage both our customers and the hosting community at large and the all-new @ServInt_Swarm.

@ServInt_Swarm is a Twitter feed specifically for our customers. We use it to share special deals, keep our customers in the loop on important ServInt developments, and provide a private Twitter environment where customers can share their thoughts and concerns with us. Read more

The Inaugural Sextant Award and Our First Finalist

Today is an exciting day at ServInt. It’s my pleasure to announce the first finalist for our inaugural Sextant Award, the Michigan College Access Network.

ServInt customers have always been a special breed. They are smart and driven, and many find innovative uses for the products and services we provide.

But our Sextant Award honors a select group of ServInt customers who have distinguished themselves even further: finalists and recipients of the Sextant Award all focus their efforts on charitable endeavors for the greater good.

This award is named after a trusted technology that has helped humankind find its true course for nearly a thousand years. In a sense, we’re looking for the ServInt customers who show all of us the way toward a better tomorrow, through the use of the Internet and our hosting technology.

Every day we learn about new customers from among the ServInt ranks who are making the world a better place through the Internet. We are humbled by their hard work and philanthropic spirit, and we thought it was high time we told the world about some of the great things these companies are doing. Read more

ServInt at 17: Thoughts on Loyalty

Today marked the 17th anniversary of when I founded ServInt.  17 is an interesting milestone.  Last year, at 16, I marveled at the fact that if the company I had created was a human, it would now be old enough to drive.  Now we’re forging further into “adulthood,” and I’m reflecting on what we’ve built and on the friends we’ve made along the way.

I had the unique opportunity to spend this special occasion in Hong Kong, celebrating with our friends and partners from PCCW Global.  Every year immediately following the Chinese New Year, PCCW hosts a large kickoff event in Hong Kong.  This year they invited us to join them as their guests.

When I started ServInt, the very first bandwidth provider I signed on was a company called CAIS, short for Capitol Area Internet Service.  In 2001 they were sold to a company called Ardent Communications, which sold off its networking assets to a company called BtN, or Beyond the Network Access, in 2002. Around 2006 BtN was folded into its parent company, PCCW Global – one of the world’s largest and most powerful telcos.  But we still basically have the same account team we started with when I started ServInt 17 years ago.  Long-term relationships like this in the Internet industry are rare to say the least! Read more

Thank You, Norman Edmund

 

Norman Edmund, 1916-2012

I woke up this morning to the news that Norman Edmund passed away last week at the ripe old age of 95.  To a man whose proudest possession is a 48-inch fresnel lens rescued from a discarded TV, this was like like learning Santa Claus had died.

That’s because Norman Edmund was the founder of Edmund Scientific — the company that sells the coolest science gadgets in the world.

Back in the 20th century, every boy or girl with a nerdy streak (like me) desperately yearned for something — check that:  nearly everything — in the Edmund Scientific catalog.  Edmund sold microscopes, telescopes, gyroscopes, rockets, prisms, lab sets, robot parts, crystal radio kits — even lasers!  The point is, it was all cool stuff, and it was all real.  These weren’t crappy toy versions of science gadgets; they were “lab quality,” and you could actually build, grow, fly, peer through, connect and learn things from them. Read more

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