I’m currently reading a book I first found in the Chicago Public Library about a year ago. It’s called Mastering Guerrilla Marketing by Jay Conrad Levinson. Thus far, it is an excellent book full of helpful, easy-to-understand information and tips on making my business the most successful it can be. Here’s a quote I’d like to share from the book:

Excellence isn’t as much a goal as a process.

This is wonderful stuff. The philosophy of constantly training throughout one’s career agrees with this credo. Success is not a destination. Reaching excellence, to me, feels more like the beginning of a downfall than it does the zenith of my career. The sky’s the limit.

On my move up to Chicago last week, we came across a gem (in the least beautiful and least glamorous meaning of the word “gem”) in the Midwest: Jassy’s Gas Station and Convenience Mart.

Outside the eclectic town of Columbus, Indiana, at the ripped-up exit from I-65, lies a gas station and convenience mart by the name of Jassy’s. Inside Jassy’s, you will first notice a woman smoking a cigarette, and you’ll subsequently wonder what decade this is. Two dinner plate-sized ashtrays atop fake wood folding tables suggest this is not uncommon. The women’s bathroom, which you’d like so badly to pee in, is in use, so you go into the men’s. As you sit down on the toilet, you notice the “intimate personals” coin-operated dispenser on the opposite wall has something a little unusual. Next to the flavored condoms and the ribbed rubbers is: Horny Goat Weed. Yes. Horny Goat Weed, that supplement sold in natural grocery stores for libido, has made it into the armpit of America’s gas station (to enhance your “drive!”). As you leave Jassy’s mart, you notice countless items on the shelves (chip dip, e.g.) that are about to go out of date (how long have those been there?), and a jerky buffet. Yes, in fact, a jerky buffet: complete with four varieties of dried meat, a “use the tongs” sign, and several silica “Stay Fresh” packets littered throughout. Back outside Jassy’s, you want to get gas, but decide on another pump because there’s puke at Number 3. Jassy’s: home of the jerky buffet and Walter’s live bait.

When I got a website last summer, I did my research (or so I thought). I looked into guaranteed uptime, and all those numerous factors I’ve completely forgotten about since. I thought I had found a good solution to my needs when I found DreamHost.

Positivity before negativity: I never had space issues–I was always able to put up whatever I wanted. Mostly, I love their selection of “one-click installs;” that is how I came by running my site on WordPress. DreamHost makes available many more themes and options than a regular for-free WordPress user. I was able to create a site easily that got tons of compliments. The customer service is prompt and, up until recently, was always able to help and/or solve the problem.
Now for the bad: as I said in my previous post, I began having unexplained technical problems with my site at least three weeks ago. First, I noticed I wasn’t able to get onto my site from my laptop–the connection would time out. After a quick survey of my friends, I learned that some of them could access it and some couldn’t. There didn’t seem to be any consistencies from browser to browser and operating system to operating system. One by one, pages began disappearing, and where I had been able to access my site from a different computer in the house, I was no longer able to. It gets weirder: this whole time, I wasn’t able to get onto DreamHost’s user panel, nor my WordPress log-in for my site. The one thing that remains functional is my email, though I won’t have that once I switch hosts.

Throughout this shenanigan, customer service was entirely unhelpful. They consistently left some questions unanswered, and the ones they did answer garnered the same solutions over and over, despite my saying I had tried them already and they hadn’t worked.

All in all, I felt very disrespected by DreamHost. They didn’t acknowledge my complaints, and what they did recognize was entirely unhelpful. DreamHost offers a great package of stats, programs, installs, etc., but the people are an even bigger part of the experience. If there isn’t a team behind my site on whom I can rely, what good is the service?

UPDATE: I did write to DreamHost about the whole fandango, and was refunded for two months. Best to leave on a positive note.