Zendesk Saga

Mikkel Svane ( @mikkelsvane ), CEO of Zendesk, made what must have been quite a difficult apology for the price increase fiasco two days ago. What are my thoughts? Well, I’m not quite sure.

When this all started, I raised a few points about trust. I stand by those points firmly. I wasn’t angry at the price increase itself. Here were my complaints:

  • The disproportionate amount of increase
  • The unrealistic value placed on features (like forums) that are not optional and that free, open-source does better
  • The inarguable abuse of the term “grandfathering”
  • The data lock-in for cheaper plans
  • The substantial disparity in pricing, compared with competitors with similar or superior offerings
  • The poorly-phrased responses from Svane on Twitter and in Zendesk’s forums

All of this amounted to a breach of trust in the company. Their actions belied the corporate image they’ve worked so hard to put forth. In short, it was a grievous error in judgment.

Then, two days and a few hours after the whole thing started, Svane posted an apology titled, “Sorry. We messed up.

I would be a hypocrite if that’s all it would take to make everything okay again. Have Svane and his investors learned their lesson? By lesson, I don’t mean, “the social web can fuck you up as easily as it can help you,” as it’s obvious they have. Rather, the lesson to which I’m referring is, “if we say we’re good guys, we can’t make a douche bag move.”

I honestly don’t know the answer to that. The real question is, “will I stay or will I go?” For now I don’t know. I’m undecided. I need to know I can trust Zendesk not to decide to hold my data prisoner and jack up their prices again. Their promise to “grandfather” existing customers in (the proper use of the term) isn’t in any contract. It’s their word, which has been tarnished recently.

Plenty have praised Svane’s apology – I’m one of them – but that doesn’t mean all is now well. So, stay or go? I’ll let you know. I’m sure I’m not the only one debating this, either.

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