Your Business Made a Mistake, Admit it

by breeve 27. October 2009 16:36

On Saturday, September 14th 2009, the rains started light at first and then increased rapidly to a steady downpour. For one homeowner, the rain was problematic because water begin to leak inside soaking drywall. A frantic call was placed to the roofing company’s emergency line. No response. Sunday came around, still no response.

On Monday, the unhappy homeowner placed a scathing post on the neighborhood Yahoo newsgroup which has 1900 subscribers. The post gathered quite a following with 18 responses in a 2 day period. In it, many were saying they were considering using the company but now weren’t so sure.

This post was of interested to me because we were in negotiations with the company to get our roof replaced. When the homeowner first posted about the leak on Monday, I was shocked and felt for the homeowner. What if that happened to me? Was I going with the right company?

Returning back to work, the company got the phone message. Crews were dispatched to the home to fix the issue. The president of the company, who just happens to live in the neighborhood, posted on the forums that Tuesday detailing how his company had screwed up badly and what they were doing about it. Apparently, the emergency phone system had been down and the leak was caused by a misplaced metal vent.

The President’s reply on Tuesday was refreshing. He didn’t make excuses or say there wasn’t anything he could have done because the phone system was out and his wife was yelling at him that weekend for golfing all day with his buddies and how we should all stop our whining because there were plenty of other roofing companies out there and just see how much better they could do if their phone system was out and everyone was bad mouthing them on the newsgroup. Instead, he detailed how he screwed up and what steps were being taken to fix the homeowner’s house and how in the future this problem would be prevented.

After reading the post, an odd thing happened. I found myself trusting the company even more than I had before. Somehow in the post I saw the human side of the business and how their owner cared about roofs. We all know businesses screw up–it is how they react to their screw ups that matter.

I am not saying if you own a business to go out and purposely do a bad job and then swoop in like Tom Silva on steroids and fix it. What I am saying is the world is in desperate need to see the human side of a business.

Speaking with the sales agent about the post a week later, he said jobs inquiries have actually picked up. On my street, I noticed two new roofing signs using the company. Sometimes it literally pays to be honest.



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About Me

I am a Principal Engineer with 16 years experience developing and releasing software products. I started developing in C/C++ then moved into .NET and C#. Currently working in Python/Flask and Docker. Have tech lead multiple projects. I have developed products in Windows Forms, ASP.NET/MVC, Silverlight, WPF, and Python. I currently reside in Austin, Texas.

Own Projects

Pickaxe - An easy to use web page scraper. If you know a little SQL and how basic CSS selectors work, no web scraping product will be easier to use.


FligthQuery - Query FlightAware FlightXml API with SQL


Created ASP.NET MVC forum originally targeting home owner associations but now in use by an investor group.

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