Editor’s note: Serra Boten is a Technical Support Engineer for OpenDNS. A recent transplant from our Vancouver office to our San Francisco headquarters, Serra spends her days providing world-class customer support to Umbrella customers. 

Dear early adopters,

I spend my days helping people navigate the murky waters of the technological forefront. My experiences over the past several years have taught me that if you’re an early adopter, challenges are almost inevitable. You might get the fastest new graphics processor before all of your friends, but there’s a good chance your new shiny toy might accidentally eat your address book or refuse to run that multiplayer skifree emulator you downloaded back in 1997. Things will break, capacities will be blown, bugs will surface, and sadness will occur. But if you’re lucky, the fruits of your frustration will eventually flourish into something amazing that your luddite friends like me will longingly covet while they spin the wheels on their rotary dial phones.

In a world where the Next! Big! Thing! happens on a rapid, 3-month release cycle, I sometimes feel like a luddite. When my iPhone 3GS met an untimely (and wet) end a couple months ago, I begrudgingly upgraded to an iPhone 4, even though I could have gotten the new hotness that is an iPhone 5 for a just small amount more.

It wasn’t that frugality got the best of me. I’m just not an early adopter.

There's a movie on there!


But you, early adopters, are an essential part of what makes the technological world go ’round.

You’re willing to hack, stumble and fight through early release cycles for a chance at eventual triumph. Without you, it would take companies like ours so much longer to work through issues. Without your feedback, the designers, engineers and product managers behind the products you love wouldn’t be able to effectively iterate, adapt, improve, overcome – and most importantly – focus.

Without early adopters and beta testers, Umbrella customers might still be wandering around the first version of the Umbrella Dashboard. When we launched in November 2012, there were bugs. There were features missing. There were parts of the user experience that were confusing. But thanks to early adopters, we’ve been able to find and fix a lot of bugs in a very short period of time. You told us what you liked, what you hated and what you found confusing. You reminded us of features we forgot, and have been ever-so-patient while we’ve worked hard to improve every aspect of the experience. (Case in point: we just rolled out a new policy wizard and a the ability to filter noisy reporting data is coming very soon.)

Our first wave of Umbrella Mobility customers have a special place in my heart. I’ve spent the majority of my waking (and sometimes dreaming) hours since Umbrella’s launch ensuring your roaming laptops are not only up and running, but also encrypted, protected and – most importantly – as reliable as our core DNS infrastructure. Believe it or not, it’s no simple task to design a lightweight security agent that can be flawlessly installed on any laptop, taken off a secure corporate network, and randomly plunked into a network run by cupid-only-knows who, without breaking anything. But that’s what we’re doing well today, thanks in large part to the powerful feedback we received from early adopters. And we’re going to get even better.

Your patience through the hiccups — and let’s be honest, some of the hiccups in the beta may have felt like pants-on-fire, head-smashed-on-the-keyboard moments of omg-why-didn’t-we-realize-that — means more to us than you might ever know.

And this isn’t lip service. We’re a small-but-growing team with huge ambition and long to-do lists. We’re moving fast, trying new things, and thriving on the goal of securing the new everywhere-enterprise reality. But one thing that won’t ever change is how much we love and appreciate our customers. Happy Valentine’s Day, early adopters, and thanks for all you do!

Sincerely yours,

Serra Boten
Technical Support Engineer, OpenDNS

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