I have a membership at TekPub which is a provider of programming related videos. I really like the content, it is well thought out and they manage to get some really big names to do videos. Of course being a famous programmer is sort of like being the best tiddly-wink player in the world – not all that impressive to the larger world. The title sequences for the videos are one of the best parts, I don’t know if Rob Conery makes them himself but to me they’re super impressive.

What I don’t like about TekPub is actually getting to my videos. I find it to be awkward and it always takes me longer than I would like.  My irritation with the site was compounded by the fact I had ribs for lunch and needed something to watch while eating them. Every second spent fiddling with the website was a second not eating ribs. Leveraging the relative anonymity of twitter I complained about it:

I love tekpub videos but the website is so hard to navigate around

— Simon Timms (@stimms) February 5, 2013

I returned to my ribs, satisfied that the world now knew what was going down.

I can never understand why my keyboard sticksI can never understand why my keyboard sticks

Within a couple of minute Rob was on the twitter asking for details of my complaints. Now I’ve talked with Rob a couple of times in the past when I was using SubSonic a bunch. He can be a little… umm… scary. He is a smart dude but can get a bit angry. I was a little afraid. He asked me to send him an e-mail with some details about what I didn’t like. Was it a trap so he could sign me up for mailing lists in revenge? Was he using the e-mail as a way to track me to my house? I sent him a list of things which could be improved. Then I hid.

There was no need to hide, though, Rob e-mailed back in couple of minutes, he was super friendly and is going to implement a bunch of the features I wanted! Those he isn’t going to implement he had either a good technical reason not to or he had thought the improvement through way more than me and showed it to be unwise. I was delighted. Also relieved. I called my wife and told her she could unload the shotgun: Rob wasn’t coming.

I really appreciated the time that Rob took to answer my inquiries. A personal response take a bit of time but it is so worth it. If you have a small company then it is this sort of user interaction that sets you apart from the big boys. I don’t know at what size of a company this gets lost but it seems to be somewhere between TekPub size and FogCreek size. There are a few other companies out there which have sold me using good customer service. Perforce and DigiCert jump to mind as prime examples. I recommend their products in a second now just because of their good service.

I bet I’ll be able to see the things Rob agreed to implement soon. It is kind of exciting that in some way I’ve had a positive impact on the site. Now I’ve got to find some dental floss, stupid ribs.