Sunday, April 27, 2008

Don McAskill - People I met at MySQL Conference

"The two metrics that are most important to me are first customer satisfaction and second growth." - Don McAskill

Today, I noticed Don is featured on Sun's customer success stories page:

Don McAskill is the CEO and Chief Geek of Smugmug, a photo and now hi-def video (using H.264) sharing site with a successful business model behind it.

I initially met Don last year at the MySQL Conference when my then boss told me that he is interested in meeting him. That was my introduction to Smugmug. I was impressed by SmugMug's presentation of photos and the care they took to make your photos and galleries look awesome.

This year, as a member of Smugmug, me and my wife got to interact with Don on a personal level.

We had several suggestions related to how our Smugmug experience could be improved and Don listened very carefully. One of the things I was most interested in seeing implemented was blocking Smugmug subdomains from being indexed if a customer is hosting them on their own subdomain.

I was truly impressed by how much Don thinks and cares about his members. It isn't a surprise that he runs a very successful site. From my conversations with Don, It seems there are many interesting projects Don and his team are working on and I can't wait to see them implemented. Almost all of the projects we heard about were focused towards customers. No wonder Smugmug has a high customer retention rate.

Technology wise, I am a fan of decisions Don has made to run Smugmug. He uses MySQL, S3, EC2 for processing and video conversion, Solaris 10 and Sun hardware.

Despite being the CEO, Don is the MySQL guy at Smugmug. His latest blog post, Death of MySQL read replication high exaggerated, was a good natured jab at discussion Brian Aker started with Arjen Lentz and me jumping in.

In the following video, Don Grantham interviews Don McAskill (yup, two Dons together) about Smugmug's relationship with Sun and the challenges of running a successful Web 2.0 business with more than 350,000 paying customers and more than 300,000,000 photos. As you can see in the video, customer satisfaction is more important than growth to Smugmug.

Since I joined Smugmug, several of my friends including Ronald Bradford have also joined. You can view my galleries by clicking on the image below and Ronald's photos from the MySQL conference by clicking on the image underneath:

My Smugmug Gallery

Ronald's Smugmug Gallery: MySQL Conference 2008 Photos

If you use Smugmug as well, drop your Smugmug URL as a comment (of course, only if you want to share).

To stay up to date with exciting stuff happening at Smugmug checkout Don's blog.

1 comment:

Baron said...

The #1 thing I like about Don and SmugMug? Don totally gets privacy and customer ownership of data. This is becoming more common these days, but is still woefully rare. I don't use any photo-hosting sites, but if I did I wouldn't even think about anyone but SmugMug.