post

The Zooomr Saga Continues

I miss Zooomr. It’s down again, after coming back from a 2-week “hiatus”, all you get at www.zooomr.com is “500 – Internal Server Error”.

Zooomr is:

  • a great product loaded with features – when it works
  • an amazing community that many startups would kill for
  • a dream of a 19-year old programmer joined by a hobbyist/pro-photographer
  • a poorly managed (actually not managed) business / service

I could go on, but instead go and read Robert Scoble’s update. For the second time in days, his post is becoming “Zooomr Central”. Zoho, the company that bailed them out a few days ago has just offered additional help. But I’m starting to wonder if what they really need at this point is even more servers, or simply DBA expertise. Talk about expertise, Founder and Sole Programmer Kristopher Tate is alone. Now, that’s not very reassuring for a real company, but it has been a major source of sympathy to Zooomr. Yes, there is a part-time *CEO*, but frankly, being MIA in the deepest of the crisis, then playing DJ on Ustream.tv for a day, then giving drunk answers online hasn’t earned a lot of credit to him or to Zooomr.

Robert is right: Zooomr is on borrowed time, and it’s not just because of the loaned Sun server. They need funding, but that’s not enough. They need technical help, but also business leadership. Or Kris gets hired and Thomas can go back to his day-job. But I would really regret that – like I said, I miss Zooomr.

P.S. On second thought, why am I complaining about Zooomr’s outage when Technorati spends the day sleeping offline.

Computer Not Working 3“>

Update (7/25)Sleeping on the job.

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Comments

  1. Very cute comments and very relevant. I always enjoy your analysis. I feel the same way on Zooomr.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Kris you are such an asshole!

  3. Anonymous says:

    Hey kris-boy you are doing your job right! You respond to ALL comments! Who knows Kristopher might give you a promotion!

  4. Nick Huckle says:

    This is all pretty minor and a flash in the pan. To be honest I’m beginning to think you’re a tabloid journalist, or on the board of another photosharing site. I believe Zooomr is in D Day +3, with a tremendous load on it’s servers. I’d like to see this blog withstand that amount of traffic, but it wont as it’s full of crap.

  5. [12:32] so, another thing

    [12:32] was Zoli in here?

    [12:32] yes

    [12:32] that guy seriously pisses me off

    [12:33] he was here for a little while around noon EST

    [12:34] who is Zoli?

    [12:34] Ode To Coffee: You are the perfect drug, the perfect drug, the perfect drug

    [12:34] https://www.zoliblog.com/

    [12:34] guys

    [12:34] can you comment all over the zooomr posts?

    [12:35] let him know that his negative words do not do things better

    [12:35] especially as an advisor to Zoho

    [12:35] gladly

    [12:35] let him know that his negative words do not do things better

    [12:35] especially as an advisor to Zoho

    [12:36] https://www.zoliblog.com/blog/_archives/2007/6/5/3000404.html#comments

    [12:36] blast ’em, guys

    [12:36] no probs kris, just checking. also looking through this guys stuff now, will comment soon

    [12:37] thanks

  6. Some more details in the transcript

    [12:32] [kristopher] so, another thing

    [12:32] [kristopher] was Zoli in here?

    [12:32] [cmiper] yes

    [12:32] [kristopher] that guy seriously pisses me off

    [12:33] [cmiper] he was here for a little while around noon EST

    [12:34] [jonward] who is Zoli?

    [12:34] [RonCarney] Ode To Coffee: You are the perfect drug, the perfect drug, the perfect drug

    [12:34] [kristopher] https://www.zoliblog.com/

    [12:34] [kristopher] guys

    [12:34] [kristopher] can you comment all over the zooomr posts?

    [12:35] [kristopher] let him know that his negative words do not do things better

    [12:35] [kristopher] especially as an advisor to Zoho

    [12:35] [RonCarney] gladly

    [12:36] [kristopher] https://www.zoliblog.com/blog/_archives/2007/6/5/3000404.html#comments

    [12:36] [kristopher] blast ’em, guys

    [12:36] [jonward] no probs kris, just checking. also looking through this guys stuff now, will comment soon

    [12:37] [kristopher] thanks

  7. bluemonki says:

    You seem to be writing from the Perspective of someone who’s invested a lot of money or some other form of capitol in Zooomr as a company. Which I’m pretty sure you haven’t.

    Sure Kris is on his own – but the fact that it’s only become apparent during this upgrade should is nothing short of amazing.

    The fact that Thomas Hawk is a part time CEO is hardly damning evidence either – they are a startup remember – surely half the fun of being a startup is just throwing things together with your mates in your spare time.

    Zooomr need to start making some cold hard cash – any idiot can write that on their blog – but don’t you think it might help if their latest baby is fully functioning first? And what better way to do it than with the help of the fantastic Zooomr community!

  8. Terry Chaplin says:

    lets just give the true words of Kris, rather than mixing in others….

    [21:34] https://www.zoliblog.com/

    [21:34] guys

    [21:34] can you comment all over the zooomr posts?

    [21:35] let him know that his negative words do not do things better

    [21:35] especially as an advisor to Zoho

    [21:36] https://www.zoliblog.com/blog/_archives/2007/6/5/3000404.html#comments

    [21:36] blast ’em, guys

    [21:37] thanks

    [21:37] I think it’s pretty poor of him spreading FUD under the Zoho Hat

    [21:41] just give him the link to inch-by-inch !!! 🙂

    [21:41] YEAHHHHH!H!!!!

    [21:41] http://blog.zooomr.com/2007/06/04/inch-by-inch-together-well-unite-the-world/

  9. Terry Chaplin says:

    lets just give the true words of Kris, rather than mixing in others….

    [21:34] https://www.zoliblog.com/

    [21:34] guys

    [21:34] can you comment all over the zooomr posts?

    [21:35] let him know that his negative words do not do things better

    [21:35] especially as an advisor to Zoho

    [21:36] https://www.zoliblog.com/blog/_archives/2007/6/5/3000404.html#comments

    [21:36] blast ’em, guys

    [21:37] thanks

    [21:37] I think it’s pretty poor of him spreading FUD under the Zoho Hat

    [21:41] just give him the link to inch-by-inch !!! 🙂

    [21:41] YEAHHHHH!H!!!!

    [21:41] http://blog.zooomr.com/2007/06/04/inch-by-inch-together-well-unite-the-world/

  10. bluemonki says:

    and you’re a coward anonymous – would you like a medal?

  11. Where are the handles from the chat log?

  12. bluemonki says:

    “Hey kris-boy”

    Did you mean to press reply? Because that’s what you did…I’m not Kris, I only know the guys because he created Zooomr and I’m not here to do his bidding either – I’m not particularly convinced at the motives behind him sending the chatroom people here.

    I just gave my opinion – which is what comments are for. Unless you’re a troll…

  13. Thomas Hawk says:

    Hey Zoli. I’d hardly characterize my being MIA from Zooomr. Kristopher and I have been in communication many times today and I’ve been in the chat room and working as hard as I can on the problem.

    One of the problems with life is that sometimes it’s not as easy as we would all like it to be. In the case of Zooomr, Zooomr does not have money to hire additional staff. The salary that I take is $0. I am working on Zooomr because I have a deep and heartfelt desire to make the world of photography a better place.

    I am working on Zooomr because many many working photographers don’t have access to the stock photography market. Because friends of mine would like to make a living in this business but the only avenue open for them to sell their work is through the microstock market where you might sell your photo for $1 and get to keep 20%. Yep, 20 cents. That’s what a phtographer might get paid on a microstock site.

    Meanwhile companies like Getty and Corbis keep the lion’s share of this money in a $2.5 billion industry. I believe that we ought to make this market more open for everyone.

    Many of our users understand that we are trying to make the world of a photography a better place for all of us.

    The reason why Zooomr has “an amazing community” is because our users understand that we are trying to do something that will benefit them all.

    Now, it is true that I have to work a day job in addition to being Zooomr’s CEO. I have to work a day job because I get zero income from Zooomr and I’ve got four little babies at home that depend on their dad in order to survive. I wish I could focus 24 hours a day on Zooomr but right now I can’t.

    But I find it offensive that you’d try to disparage my character by calling me MIA. MIA denotes missing in action. And I’ve very much been a part of Zooomr and in action ever since I’ve been involved with it. In fact I work a minimum of 14 hours a day on Zooomr in addition to my day job. I’ve spent many nights up all night working on Zooomr and working with the community.

    What is your job Zoli? Do you have one or two jobs? How much time do you spend on each of them? Can you understand that if you were working the type of hours that I am how it might sound offensive to be labeled MIA?

    When we’ve gone down I’ve interacted with the community. I’ve answered many, many questions about photography, talked about our dreams about photosharing, explained the best I can why Zooomr has had problems. I play a little music sometimes. Mostly as requested by our users. People seem to enjoy this and seem to enjoy the interaction. In fact you are the only person that I’ve heard express such disdain for a bunch of folks being people hanging out in a room while we are down. But you see Zoli, I think the people in the room actually appreciate this. I think when someone is bummed that Zooomr is down, but hey we’re all in this together and play some Led Zeppelin for me Thomas Hawk.

    It’s friends talking and getting through things. And this it’s things like this that build not tear down community. You, Zoli, tear down community and for that I have no respect.

    Earlier this week I regrettably got trolled into a long drawn out debate in Flickr Central about Zooomr. Because I feel passionately sometimes when I get wound up it’s hard for me to let go. Maybe all you are doing here is trolling for me again here so that you can get more Zoli attention.

    While engaged in conversation I had a bit of wine too much. I was at home had had an entirely stressful week and was engaging in a heated debate about something that I feel passionately. I recognized it at one point and quit the conversation. If I hadn’t felt passionately enough I would never have been in that room until 2am in the morning defending Zooomr.

    Now I don’t know you Zoli. I don’t know if you drink or if you don’t. But I’m generally very responsible when I have a few glasses of wine at night. But I probably should have gone to bed the other night at midnight instead of hanging out and debating about Zooomr until 2am.

    I resent your negative characterization of my efforts and committment to Zooomr Zoli. I don’t do Zooomr “part time.” Instead I do Zooomr full time but also have a second full time job as well. Sleep and unfortunately for now time with my family suffer, but it’s a committment I want to make for something that I believe in.

    Zooomr will get more funding. Zooomr will go on. The work to do with photography is too important for it not to. Our community is strong.

    Tearing down communities doesn’t help Zoli, it’s destructive. I think it reflects poorly on you as an advisor to start ups when you think that tearing down another start up when they are struggling makes the most sense.

    Yes, Zooomr needs technical help. But we are working on that. I’m not going to get into a long drawn out debate here with you as I did the other night in Central because it’s not the best use of my time for the Zooomr Community and because it’s ultimately destructive. But I would ask you to refrain from characterizing my committment in time, energy and effort as MIA.

    I emailed you the other day asking for personal input from you about how to improve things at Zooomr. You never responded to my private email but instead choose to blast Zooomr and I in a blog post. Nicely done Pal.

    When Zooomr has some downtime

  14. Sure you wouldn’t like to join me in ‘mean’ and ‘vicious’ comments right about now, Zoli?

  15. Thomas Hawk says:

    By the way Zoli, I’m in the chat room right now chatting with our community. I asked about the DJ/Chat stuff and the response has been positive. Nobody said anything negative about it when asked.

    Zooomr of course is up right now. And when it’s gone down today almost every time it was returned was because I’ve been calling Kristopher.

    The funny thing is earlier today you were in our chat room. And when Zooomr was down and I was trying to call Kristopher and wake him up to restart it you were encouraging people in the chat room not to wake him up to let him sleep. You were being pretty vocal. Kristopher and I work together on Zooomr of course (contrary to your one man company statement) and he’s asked me to wake him up anytime if Zooomr’s down by the way.

    The funny thing is that you weren’t aware that I was watching the room when you were doing this. Because I was watching on UStream. When I logged into the chat room as myself with Coliquoy you mysteriously stopped talking.

    I did get Kristopher up of course and he got Zooomr restarted. And you saw me active in the room because you didn’t leave when I was talking and engaging our community.

    So how is it when I’ve been active talking to our community today, working with Kristopher today. Even waking him up live on camera in front of your own eyes that you want to spread FUD that I’m MIA.

    Oh and it’s pretty good advice you were spreading this morning in our chat room. To *not* try and wake up our CTO to restart service when we were down. Is this the type of advice you give to all startups? Is this what makes you such an excellent start up advisor? Because I cant’ think of a CTO alive actually working on a startup who wouldn’t want to be woken up to restart their site when they are sleeping.

    Really cheap shots man.

  16. Zoli Erdos says:

    Sorry for the typos and poor grammar in the above comment…

  17. Zoli Erdos says:

    Thomas,

    You are forcing me to respond, but I’ll keep it short, since the last thing Zooomr need now is extended debates.

    Just a few corrections first:

    • I did not choose to blast Zooomr insted of responding to your email; you wrote that email half a day *after* this post was published.  You did send me another email though, four days ago, thanking me for my help and asking for further criticism.  I guess 4 days is a long time.. then I was helper, now I am destroying startups.
    • You’re mixing up dates and quote events out of sequence. We already discussed the MIA issue, and you *know* it clearly referred to the entire day Thursday and part of Friday.  I do maintain my opinion that both your performance as CEO has hurt Zooomr at this time of crisis – I am talking communication, and lack of it.
    • You’re talking about cheap shots – if your twisting the fact that I tried to give Kris a break is not a cheap shot, then I don’t know what is. Yes, of course a CTO normally should wake up when his system goes down – but here the outage has become the norm, Kris spent yet another all-nighter at the data center, and he is only human.  I may be critical (I am) of your priorities,  but I don’t want to kill anyone in the process.

    • By the way, I commented under my own name while you were lurking incognito in your own chat room.  And you know what drives me to that chat-room in the first place?  The lack of status information anywhere else.

    This takes us to the real problem: communication.  You are quite satisfied having kept the chat room entertained – that’s the community spirit. Yes, I understand the force of the Zooomr community, you may recall this is what I called “magic” and Zooomr’s #1asset in my previous post. 

    Where we have a disagreement is just who you consider your community.  Is it the 130-150 fans who are constantly in the Ustream.tv chatroom?  The recent BBC interview with Kris estimates 100,000 users, elsewhere you talk about 50K -so let’s take the lower number here.  *That’s* your community, the 50-100 thousand users, not just the 150-strong fan-club. 

    At a time of crisis a CEO’s top priority should be customers, and while you can not immediately come up with solutions (obviously Kris is working on that), you can  – should communicate.  50K users don’t have the time to hang out in the chat room for hours: they need immediate status information.  For a few days your excuse not to communicate was that you lost update access to your blog.  Well, your users were able to comment on the last post – at a minimum that was available to you.  Then the community created a wiki.  Now you really have multiple channels, you can leave *immediately* visible status updates… yet you’re satisfied with playing DJ on streaming video.  That’s satisfying the 150, while ignoring the other 50K.

    I am not your enemy, Thomas.  I want to help, I want the Zooomr back, for a number of reasons. First, as a user… but I got more interested as my friends at Zoho got involved.  They were enthusiastic the first day, and somewhat frustrated the second: simply because they wanted to help more, but they did not see bringing the Zooomr back to life Kris’s top priority.  For anyone involved in the SaaS business (and Zoho knows a thing or two about scaling hosted services)  it’s very hard to understand that  a provider would  focus on “enhancements” at the cost of delaying access.  It’s the “who is your community” issue again: the 150 (more 30-50 nowadays) may agree, but the 50K had no say in the matter – they just suffer the consequences of an upgrade that cripples their access.

    I was at Launch: Silicon Valley yesterday and talked / emailed several people I thought might be of help: investor, technology / architect types. Something may come out of it, but more likely nothing. At least I tried… as I really want Zooomr back.  That does not mean I can not be critical; and being critical does not make me enemy.  You are need critics, not just fans. Personally I’d rather have critics who help than worshippers who only talk.

    Well, I failed being short – but if it’s any consolation, I’m done talking about Zooomr. One day I’d like to come back and write about good features and a reliable system. 

  18. Thomas Hawk says:

    Zoli, that’s a good one. Haha. Hillarious.

    I’ve got to hand it to you man. Pure comedic genius. I like you. You’re alright.

    I’m going to print this one out and save it for the archives. I’ll post it up in our offices someday when we have them and you and I will have a drink.

    I’ve got a few people I’m going to email this one out to.

    You keep doing that thing you do brother!

  19. John Swifty says:

    Wow, Thomas, looks like you win the prize for Most Disrespectful Reply Ever.

    If *I* were an adviser to the very people who helped you out with server space and technical advice for a couple of days, I know which way my next advice would be heading.

    Good job it’s not me I guess.

    Way to go to treat people who help you and give advice in a public forum. I’m sure more people will be queuing up to help in the future knowing what type of response they’re letting themselves in for.

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