Tucows (Re)Introduces OpenSRS

I’m always happy to point out cool things that my former employer, Tucows, is up to (from 2003 to 2007, I was their Tech Evangelist). The latest one is one I’ve long supported: pulling their reseller services under a single, well-known and trusted name, OpenSRS, and a gorgeous new brand identity:

OpenSRS\' new brand identity

OpenSRS now refers to a whole slew of services: domain name registration, SSL certificates, email and “personal names” (white label access to their portfolio of common North American and European surname domains), all of which are accessible via control panel or API.

Here’s what they have to say:

Don’t mistake this for a simple re-brand. Yes, we have a new logo, and a snazzy new website, but there’s a lot more to what we’re doing here than a fresh coat of paint and some new pictures on the wall.

Back in 1999 when Tucows first started selling domain names as one of the original ICANN accredited registrars, we wanted to bring Internet service providers something they hadn’t been accustomed to getting when it came to domain names: customer service. We launched back then with a real customer focus that extended throughout everything we did.

The logo also proudly proclaims that OpenSRS is “Reseller Friendly.” That is more than just a slogan, or a tag line – it’s a promise. Like the customer focused wholesale domain name business that launched in 1999 as OpenSRS, today we remain dedicated to providing the best possible experience for our resellers.

That means resellers can expect easily accessible customer support with knowledgeable people on the other end of the phone line. And it means products and services that are created and implemented with the specific needs of the reseller in mind. That Reseller Friendly attitude and approach extends throughout every aspect of our business.

We’re putting that Reseller Friendly promise prominently on display, right in our logo. We’re not only rebranding our wholesale Internet Services business as OpenSRS, but we’re re-dedicating ourselves to the approach that, with your help, made us so successful over the past nine years and will continue it into the future.

For more, including a video interview featuring my old boss Ken Schafer (VP Marketing and Product Management), check out this entry in the Tucows Reseller Blog.


Not Yet!

Squishy cows

A number of people have been emailing me and asking when I’m going to write about my new job. If you really need to know now, feel free to ask me offline and I’ll tell you. If you can wait, I’ll start posting about it next week — my first day is Monday, November 26th.

Although tomorrow is my last day at the office (I’ve taken time off to go down to the States for Thanksgiving), I am officially Tucows‘ Tech Evangelist until 5 p.m. on Friday. I wouldn’t feel right writing about the new place until then.


Leaving Tucows

Box of squishy cows at the Tucows office

It’s official: I handed my two weeks’ notice to Tucows on Monday. After four and a half years as their developer relations guy, during which time I held two titles (Technical Evangelist, and before that, the less wieldy Technical Community Development Coordinator), worked in two departments and occupied 5 different desks spread across two floors, I have decided to move on to a new job and with it, new challenges.

Me playing accordion for BloggerCon attendees taking a break on Mass Ave.
Networking accordion-style during a break at BloggerCon II in Boston (that’s Mass Ave. in the background, and yes, I’m wearing a cow-print vest).
Photo courtesy of Julie Leung.

Maybe it’s the whole “turning 40” thing, or maybe it’s the programming itch, but I feel that I need a change of scenery. Life at Tucows was pretty sweet, but I came across one of those rare — if a little bit risky — opportunities that life doesn’t hand you too often. As much as I loved my job at Tucows, I’d be have to be a fool and a coward to pass up the opportunity I’m about to take on.

My desk at the Tucows office in Fall 2003.
My first desk at the Tucows office, taken Fall 2003.

Me at my second desk at the Tucows office, taken Winter 2004.

My desk at the Tucows office in Spring 2006.
My third desk at the Tucows office, taken Spring 2006.

View from my desk, Fall 2007.
The view from my fifth desk at the Tucows office, taken Fall 2007.

The decision to leave Tucows was not an easy one. In many ways, the Technical Evangelist position was a dream job. It combined a number of things I love to do: programming, writing, schmoozing, graphic design and I even got to work in a little accordion playing. I’ve worked with some of the finest colleagues I have known, I’ve reported to some excellent bosses — first Ross Rader, then Ken Schafer, and finally Leona Hobbs, and for a CEO who is admired and respected throughout high tech, Elliot Noss.

A still from the webcam broadcast (no audio) of my first annual review, Spring 2004.

A still from the webcam broadcast (no audio) of my first annual review, Spring 2004. Those are Ross Rader’s hands.

A still from the webcam broadcast (no audio) of my first annual review, Spring 2004. That’s Ross Rader on the right.

One of the best things about my job was having the privilege of wearing the mantle of Tucows, a company that’s well-regarded in the world of high-tech. Walking into a room of techies and saying “I’m with Tucows” is like traveling through Europe with a Canadian flag sewn on your backpack, walking through Boston with a Red Sox cap or being able to play Take Me Home Country Roads on accordion in front a room of West Virginians — it establishes your bona fides and marks you as one of the good guys. I hope that Tucows has benefited equally from having the “Accordion Guy” as its head tech cheerleader.

Me playing at No Regrets
Representing Tucows at a geek function at No Regrets with the accordion.

Joey deVilla speaking at CASCON 2005
Speaking at the “Business of Blogging” seminar at IBM’s CASCON 2005.

Joey deVilla in an interview on CTV News
A still from a CTV News piece on Google.

I’d like to thank my first Tucows boss, “Boss Ross” Rader, and his boss Elliot Noss for believing in me enough to hire me, and the two bosses who followed, Ken Schafer and Leona Hobbs, for being equally terrific. I’d also like to apologize to Leona for handing in my notice while she was on vacation (you know how it is with “windows of opportunity”). I also have to thank my teammates in Communications, Hasdeep Kharaud, Kari Dykes and James “Yes, that’s my real surname” Koole; it’s been a blast working (and lunching at Pho Asia 21) with you guys. Hell, I’m just going to thank the everyone in the company for making my four and a half years there an enjoyable experience.

Joey devilla playing accordion at RailsConf 2007
Playing accordion at the evening keynote at RailsConf 2007 in Portland, Oregon.

Accordion Guy and Amber Mac
At DemoCamp. “Amber’s being unprofessional again, isn’t she?”

Me on CityTV news
Talking about Windows Vista on CityTV News, early 2007.

Accordion Guy playing at php|works
Flying the Tucows flag at the php|works conference, 2006.

My final day at the office will be next Tuesday, the 20th. I leave Tucows with mixed feelings: happy and excited about my new position (which I’ll talk about later) but sad to leave a great workplace and the company for whom I’ve worked the longest in my entire career. It’s been a great ride, guys — thanks!

Front door of Tucows’ offices


Tucows’ Bill Sweetman Talks to Amber Mac About Domain Names

Amber Mac on “Homepage” with Tucows squishy cows
Click on the photo to see the video.

The lovely, talented and geeky Amber Mac took some time to invite my co-worker Bill Sweetman over to her TV show, Homepage, to talk about domain names. We’ve got all the details on the Tucows Blog.


R.I.P. Blinky, the Two-Headed Calf (Who Looks Just Like the Tucows Logo)

Boing Boing points to the story of Blinky, the two-headed calf, who was euthanized yesterday.

My co-workers at Tucows and I couldn’t help but notice that Blinky bore a rather uncanny resemblance to our corporate logo:

Blinky the two-headed calf, side-by-side with the Tucows logo


Tucows on Canadian Business’ 2007 “Tech 100”

Business squishy cow and Canadian Business “Tech 100″ logoWhat’s a blog for, if not to toot one’s own horn, or at least the horn of the company for whom he is a spokesmodel?

Tucows, where I’ve worked for four years and where I hold the title of Technical Evangelist, is on Canadian Business’ 2007 “Tech 100” List, their annual listing of Canada’s 100 largest publicly traded companies. We’re right by the median, ranked at number 49 on the “Performance” list.

I like to think that at least a little chunk of that was my doing.


The Exceptional Squishy Cow

The Exceptional CowMark Mansour at the State of Flux blog wrote this about how he and his fellow developers use a Squishy Cow to do agile development:

At our end of iteration review, like all good agile shops, we go through what’s good, what could be done better, what still puzzles us and what we are going to do next time (but details on this are for another post). We also have The Exceptional Cow™.

Whoever has the cow is responsible for triaging all incoming exceptions for that iteration. At the end of each iteration The Exceptional Cow is ceremoniously passed to the next bovine herder. As the cow herder, you have the responsibility of examining all incoming exceptions and fixing it if it is a no brainer or writing it up as a bug for someone else to fix if you don’t have the time or if someone else has a much better grasp on the issue. Quite often all exceptions for the week are attacked in the final hours before we close off the iteration as we don’t want to start new functionality at that point.

Simply put, whoever currently possesses the cow is responsible for handling any bugs, whether it’s by fixing them or writing them up in a bug report. It’s rather reminiscent of the “talking stick” tradition among North American natives or the conch in Lord of the Flies.

It’s the most interesting and practical use for a Tucows Squishy Cow that I’ve seen yet.

(Cross-posted to the Tucows Developer Blog)