Delivering bad news in a good way

Whenever I wake up in the morning, the first thing I do is… well… not go over last night’s notifications on my phone. This has taken a while to get used to, but I am happy I did it. And it’s been a few years now.

Delivering bad news in a good way

The first thing I do is get up and go to the bathroom.  Then, I go into the kitchen, and brew my first coffee of the day. While the coffee is brewing, I raise the window rolls, turn on some music, and make sure everything is ready to have a great start to the day.

It’s only after I sit down and sip a bit of the fresh, creamy coffee that I unlock my phone and go through the notifications that might have piled up during the night.

I don’t get a lot of those, as I disabled the notification on most of my apps. I don’t foresee any possibility of me needing to get notified from the “Ads” app, Apple Store, Dropbox, Evernote, IMDb, Maps, Netflix, Music, Pinterest or Reddit.

Not even Facebook.

Nor email apps.

I feel that I should be the one “checking my email,” not the other way around.

This helps me to be focused on my day or whatever task I’m rowing about, without all the constant distraction from my small, always-connected friend.

I also tend to ignore notifications (and my phone in general) whenever I’m having a conversation with someone or while hanging out with friends. I feel that if there’s anything really important, the person needing my attention will call. Think about it: probably 99% of the mundane, less important conversations tend to happen via texting over the widely available platforms such as Messenger, WhatsApp, Telegram, Skype, Slack or even Instagram in this day and age.

Here’s where Monitive comes in. I wanted to make sure that if something really important is happening, such as my site or service being down for longer than 10 minutes, I would know.

I wanted to be called in such emergencies.


That’s why I built this into the new Monitive, codenamed “Freyja.”

Right from the registration form.

No advanced engineering needed to set it up.

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Monitive “Freyja” Sign up

You just open the registration form, enter your name, email, phone number and website to monitor and click “Register.”

On your phone.

Because you shouldn’t need a laptop for the simple things, right?

As soon as you do this, you’re covered. The default settings for monitoring the website address you just typed in is something along the lines of:

  1. If the site goes down, we’ll double-check it and instantly send you an email. If you have email notifications enabled, you’re already covered! However, sites can go down for just a few seconds due to small and temporary networking issues, or even just a short server load.
  2. If the site is down for at least 3 minutes, we’ll also send you an SMS text alert. That should stand out from your regular Instagram or Netflix notifications, since an SMS message is a piece of information that was deliberately sent to you. And usually, to you alone. But, again, you might be on the bus, in a conversation or just pouring your second coffee, 30 feet away from your smartphone. But then…
  3. If the site has been down for 10 minutes, **we will automatically call you! **That’s right. It’s an automated voice message, but you might really be interested in this one.

It may not be the most sexy voice you’ve heard, and it may sound quirky or the pronunciation might not be proper, but you’ll be thankful you got it. It means that something serious is happening with your site, and now you know.

You might be driving or waiting in line at a hot-dog stand, but this is the moment when Monitive’s notification has to stand out.

This simple escalation system is covering probably 90% of the needs of people that need to know when a specific site goes down. It might be their personal site, blog, or e-shop. Or, maybe they’re the responsible colleague that must ensure that their company’s site is up and always available.

The other 10% of needs are split between either 1) customizing this simple escalation flow, or 2) something much more complex. For example, perhaps someone needs a tool with on-call schedules, forwarding options, and other ops-related procedures and flows.

For these needs, either PagerDuty or VictorOps can easily take care of things.

It’s for this very reason that I want to integrate the new Monitive with PagerDuty — just like the old one already is.

And, I’ll probably want to find a way to make the integration even deeper and simpler to use. Because you know us…

Simple is always better!

–Photo by Maarten van den Heuvel on Unsplash