Ben Langhinrichs

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August, 2014
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Civility in critiquing the ideas of others is no vice. Rudeness in defending your own ideas is no virtue.


Mon 25 Aug 2014, 03:42 PM
I fancy myself to be fairly good at listening to customers and solving their problems. But that is not always a good thing.
 
One of the hardest things to do when supporting users is to stop and really listen to both them and to yourself. It is relatively easy to simply answer the question or address the concern, basically to "fix" the problem. Honestly, it is very much the same experience men often have in relationships. How do you step away from identifying and trying to fix "the problem" and instead think about the underlying situation and what it really means? What are the underlying causes and currents you are missing which led to the issue, as that is often more important that "the problem" itself.
 
A Midas customer wrote today with a problem running the Export to CSV database, basically due to a version issue. I gave her a solution, and she wrote back to say it worked. Case closed, right? Well, not really. We are working very hard to make the Midas LSX, and particularly the export functionality, easy enough to use for non-developers, and by that measure we failed. The person who wrote was perfectly capable of re-compiling the agent, but shouldn't have needed to. In looking at the situation, I realized that the approach we take with samples assumes that the user has already solved the problem of getting the software, getting the evaluation license and installing them. But what of the developer who downloads the sample and tries it without getting an evaluation license.
 
This is where I kick myself. It should be insanely obvious that if the user doesn't have the Midas LSX installed, the sample should inform them of that and show them how to get the software and evaluation license. How can we not do that?
 
So, mea culpa, mea culpa. We are on it, and soon the sample databases will identify whether the software, and the correct version of the software at that, is installed. It may take a few days or longer to develop the right code and roll it out, but we'll get there. In the meantime, <ouch>.

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