Most vendors lie, but not all

I’ve been running a small software company for a while now and we are fastidious about reducing costs on hardware and software and getting the maximum bang for buck out of what we buy. Lets put it this way, Hell for a Dell server is spending eternity in our data center. We work them at 80% load until they simply drop dead and then we switch out the dead components and keep pushing them.

During my roughly 20 year career in IT, Ops and software engineering there is one thing that has been universal and consistent. IT vendors lie through their teeth about ROI and how their product will save you money or make you more money.

  • Buy our OS because it’s “enterprise” and “best of breed”. No thanks I’ll use Linux which is free and better.
  • Buy our database “solution” because it’s a new paradigm in “scaleability”. No thanks I’ll use MySQL because it’s better and it’s free and you know this which is why you bought them.
  • Use our translation service. Why translate once for a fixed low price when we can use it as an excuse to move your I18N pages into the cloud and charge you per page served. [Two companies have now pitched this exact service to me]
  • Why pay $12.99 for an SSL certificate when you can pay $1,499 for an EV SSL certificate that will quadruple your conversions.
  • Why buy 20 servers for $50k and lease your own rack for $3k per month when you could be in our “mission critical” cloudified data center spending $20K per month for the same thing.
  • Why use Nginx free for load balancing when you can get this dedicated hardware balancer hardware for $40K that can barely keep up.
It goes on, and on, and on. I am so easy to sell. If you can make me more money or save me money, I’m interested. But few salespeople who pitch me have a product that can do that for real. The only possible explanation is that true innovation, the kind that helps deliver more value or improve efficiency, is rare.
Companies that do deliver commercial products with real value or improved efficiency that I use:
  • Dell servers
  • *my hosting provider who shall remain nameless for security reasons* Email me if you’re interested.
  • Websitepulse for server monitoring. Super reliable and cost efficient.
  • Linode for small virtual servers for dev and little projects.
  • Apple for iMac workstations, iPad2, iPhone and their macbook and macbook pro – we have all of these and besides being pretty, we use every one of them every day.
  • Authorize.net for payment processing
  • Chase Bank. Their business banking is superb and if you’re a disciplined credit card user who has a history of not paying a cent in interest, get the Chase Saphire Preferred card – it’s Visa Signature so it has concierge and it has the best rewards in the biz. But beware if you aren’t highly organized because the interest can ratchet up to 29.99%. We’re considering ditching Amex rewards cards (biz and personal) for these. American Express you can contact me if you want to know why.
  • Intuit products including Quickbooks and Mint. Spectacular for biz and personal financial management.
Post in the comments if you have a favorite vendor that has really come through for you.