Friday, May 21, 2010

Apology accepted, Zendesk. Thank you.

Zendesk CEO Sorry TweetIn the wake of the Zendesk Price Fiasco of 19 May 2010, in which SaaS helpdesk vendor Zendesk announced pricing hikes which negatively affected most of their users (and would have caused a doubling for us), and after which an angry firestorm erupted, Zendesk users received an email apology from CEO Mikkel Svane today, and more information in his blog post.

I have a bit of a bitter taste in my mouth after having been treated that way, but let's let bygones be bygones. I very much appreciate the real grandfathering they have extended to existing customers.

So, apology accepted, Zendesk, and kudos to you Mikkel for doing the right thing. I am sure it was difficult.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

SaaS Helpdesk Software that Supports Japanese

After the Zendesk Price Fiasco of 19 May 2010, where Zendesk are proposing to significantly raise prices for their SaaS helpdesk solution, I am confident many users are looking elsewhere. This is one of the pitfalls of a SaaS solution, wherein the provider achieves external investment, and subsequently bows to pressure from said investors to raise prices or otherwise change a model that was working. At least for we users.

In our case, the cost of Zendesk, while was higher than others, was justified because it somewhat supported the Japanese mails my firm gets. I say somewhat because certain mails would cause Zendesk to have a fit, but that is mostly calmed down now.

That being said, now that Zendesk has basically doubled their prices for us and while I have made no decisions on whether to accept their "offer" of prepaying annually to lock in the current pricing for one year, I thought I would list alternatives and whether they support Japanese.

It is important to note, that there are several aspects to "supporting Japanese" some of which include:

  • User Interface
  • Ability to Email in and out of the Helpdesk
  • Ability to search
  • Ability to store Japanese data

Many web based products, and not just Helpdesk products, face these challenges when localizing to multi-byte character sets. User Interface is straightforward, as is the ability to store the data. These are kind of "level 1" localizations. Searching is harder, because of the space-less nature of Japanese, and emailing in and out is a major pain. Often, they get the email body correct, and you can see Japanese in it, but, the subject line is munged. It is a complex undertaking, especially for non-native speakers. So, caveat emptor.

List of Helpdesk Software that Supports Japanese

Confirmed Positive:

Zendesk themselves. Most Japanese mail is processed correctly but there are some glitches occasionally. We have personally confirmed all the above-mentioned aspects of Zendesk.

Kayako's Savin Behal replied to me in an email: Our software supports multiple languages. You may download the required (Japanese) language packs from the Kayako Forums at “”. These language packs have been shared by our clients. However, we regret to inform you that we do not support these packs officially.

Active Campaign supports Japanese fully, according to Jason in the comments on this post.

Web Helpdesk says they do indeed support Japanese email. From Shiraz Hemani, Business Development Manager: "Per your questions on email, yes Web Help Desk fully supports monitoring of any number of incoming mail accounts in all language character sets, including Japanese. Each incoming account can be associated with any number of outgoing mail accounts as well. We have more info available for that feature at:"

Atlassian Jira does support Japanese. We had been using it in Japan, but moved away from it due to the glacial pace of development of certain security-related enterprise features we needed.

Confirmed Negative:

Tender says they do not support Japanese. Will says: "... I'm sorry, but we don't currently have international language support in Tender. We do hope to add the feature in the near future, but it's not ready at this time."


Please comment if you have more or better information.


21 May 2010 - Zendesk has since recanted, apologized, and offered real grandfathered terms for existing customers. I have to say I have a bitter taste in my mouth, but, I would be remiss if I did not acknowledge the difficulty of changing systems. We'll sit a spell.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

How not to run a SaaS: Zendesk

Zendesk CEO Noise CommentI got an email from Zendesk in the middle of the night and this blog post, breathlessly announcing "new features!" and along with that, new pricing. I and many other users could probably have dealt with an x% increase, but a doubling? It was even worse for people on other plans, as well, and that means a lot of upset users. CEO Mikkel Svane's patronizing attitude is not helping matters either (see the screen shot of his arrogant tweet in this post).

Down to brass tacks: we have 8 agents on the Plus+ plan and are paying the equivalent of 27 USD / agent per month. The new announced pricing puts it at 59 USD / agent per month. Users are being given an "opportunity" to lock their existing pricing in, by paying annually for a 15% discount, and it appears that the limit to this is one year. So, we take the hit up front by paying up front, and we take another hit later anyway. Sounds like a plan, Zendesk.

This is a one-sided, sneaky and very much not transparent decision on pricing by Zendesk, which I suspect is being driven by chop-licking investors. Who can trust Zendesk now that they have shown how they will treat customers. If we take the offer being dangled, who knows what will happen after their next round of investment.

Unacceptable way to run any business, and a slap in the face. I hope Zendesk will respond in a positive way, instead of burying their collective head under the sand.


20 May 2010 - no proper response from Zendesk as of this AM. Zendesk users still angrily commenting (of course). 21 May 2010 - an email in from Mikkel Svane, Zendesk CEO, recanted and apologized for the mistake, as well as grandfathering existing customer prices in forever. That was nice of him, and appreciated.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Voigtländer Color-Skopar 20mm Lens Cap Problem

Voigtländer Color-Skopar 20mm Lens Cap ChallengeThe lens cap that comes supplied with the Voigtländer Color-Skopar 20mm SL II does not fit, when you have the LH-20 lens hood and a filter on. What a dumb design oversight. However, if you get a Nikon LC-52 52mm lens cap, that fits right in there, no problem. Nice.

I like the design of the Nikon caps better than the Cosina Voigtländer or Carl Zeiss ones anyway. Easy to grab and avoid getting my paw prints all over the lens.

I hope this helps any owners of the tiny high-performance Voigtländer Color-Skopar 20mm SL II. Enjoy!

Memo: the real "Rick R. Colgey" is Rick Cogley, Eurobiz

I just noticed that Eurobiz Japan inanely published my article on Interim IT Management Services in their May 2010 issue under the name "Rick R. Colgey". They took the time to painstakingly "correct" my American spelling during proofreading, then got my name wildly incorrect in the article. Thanks a bunch, folks.

So, if you are looking for "Rick R. Colgey" of eSolia and not finding him, that would be me. Please see the contacts below.

Rick Cogley

CEO, eSolia Inc.