SaaS, Content Marketing, Customer Success, & Cowboy Coding: It Ain’t Boring!

Wren House Jomax Coffee Oatmeal Stout on-tap at galvanize today.


Opened the laptop this morning to learn one of my customers had one of HIS customers throw a dumpster fire over the fence at him the morning of Friday, the 13th.

He needed to get about 200 pieces of content completed by next week Thursday. No matter how he moved things around, he was going to come up short by over 30 pieces. Absolutely out of time and manpower.

[ Hat tip to Justin Gray for introducing me to the concept of “staff augmentation”. ]

Now this cat is on the east coast, so by the time I tag in at 9AM in Phoenix, he’s already working through lunch. I tell him I need to know what industry he’s working with, how many pieces he needs, and his budget.

By noon, Phoenix time, Steve and I have reached out to 30 of our very best freelancers in the space. We’ve got 10 onboard, in a team, and standing by. I have my customer start building out the campaign with all the details so we can get on the phone again around 430PM eastern and get these widdle piddies to market.

That’s when I discover the bug with the platform. No worries. I’ve got a workaround. I think.

Jump on a call to start sending this work out to the team. It’s pushing 5PM on Friday, the 13th, at his end. My workaround fails. He can’t select his client account from the agency side. And he can’t touch his agency budget from within the client account.

We’re dead in the water. And I have no idea where the dev team is.

I sent out the APB on Slack. “@channel” the message begins, “this is bad.”

They’re all in a meeting somewhere, but Bryce, who just had a baby and is working from home, gets to work immediately. Elle reports she’s already on the fix. Troy hits me up for details, then tells me this one’s gonna need “Cowboy Coding.”

That’s editing code on a live production environment. And it’s extremely dangerous. If you don’t understand why, ask a developer.

I step out of my little phone booth room, figuring I might as well go back to my desk since it’s all out of my control at this point. Rounding the corner, I see the entire ClearVoice dev team in action. It’s like a goddamned war room in the movies.

Stepping in to comment how much I love the idea of “Cowboy Coding”, however risky, and Jeff asks me if I want to watch. “Hell yeah, I do!” And I watch as he furiously types away in some terminal-looking interface that resembles the Matrix code.

They’re all talking to each other in code. Literally. They’re speaking code.

And it’s fixed. My screensaver hasn’t even started on the laptop still open in my arm from stepping out of the phone booth. I re-try selecting the client account on the assignment and—BOOM—there it is.

I go back to the phone booth, call my customer, and we get to work.

13 minutes after being dead in the water, the customer is creating assignments. He sends the first one, then duplicates it to quickly stand up the second. Before the second is done, I’m watching on another screen and tell him Renee has already accepted and started working. He tells me he’s almost scared to hear that.

15 minutes after that, all 30-plus assignments are live. Only 12 remain unassigned.

15 minutes after THAT, we’re down to just six.

They’ll get done. They’ll get done right.

And they’ll get done 24 hours before the actual deadline.

Customer leaves the office knowing we pulled out all the stops to help him today.

Writers know they can count on us to get them solid, paying jobs with long term potential.

I’ve got a 50-gallon cowboy hat en route from Amazon for the “ClearVoice Cowboy Coders.”

Oh, and did I mention this was the customer I screwed up a few weeks back who got incorrectly charged 30+ times overnight? Yeah. Don’t ever let anyone tell you SaaS or content marketing are boring.

Yippe-ki-yay, Mr. Falcon.

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