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Plenty of Fish and Door Tablet

A case study in finding the semi-colon

11 March 2018

Among our growing community of clients there are few if any which have grown as quickly from nothing as Plenty of Fish, based in Canada. Now one of the world’s best-known and biggest online dating websites, “POF” was founded in 2004 and now boasts 6-8 million active daily users – most of them in North America but with substantial numbers registered throughout the English-speaking world, as well as in Europe and, curiously, Brazil.

When POF Systems Administrator Trevor Macdonald started looking for a digital signage solution for his eleven meeting rooms overlooking Vancouver harbour, he had a few key and inter-related considerations clearly in mind:

First, office life was hectic from the off and promised to get more so – as indeed it has – so a solution that was easy to install and reliable to run had to be Priority One;

Second, an in-house answer to the company’s needs was out of the question, given that need for reliability and a robust solution that would grow as POF would do; and

Third, an external supplier had to be found who could be relied upon to provide a robust and effective solution, while also ensuring unparalleled service in those times, however rarely they may occur, when something went amiss. Within short months of getting underway with Door Tablet, Trevor was to find his three key considerations vindicated on all counts.

He remembers it as a particularly hectic time, even by POF standards: the company was bought by global market leader Match.com; new hires were pouring through the door; and all the while website user statistics were going through the roof. Busy days. Implementing a new system for managing their meeting rooms could not have seemed the most pressing of needs. Certainly, all had to run smoothly if the deployment were going to happen at all.

At first, all went fine. Quotes approved, hardware delivered, server downloaded, testing completed. The meeting room tablets were pointed at the internal server, and clickety click. All went well. A first update went smoothly, and then . . .

Devil’s in the detail
A second update uncovered a fault: there was an email corruption that required the unencrypted of a 500-megabyte file. At this point, Door Tablet CTO Avi Tchiprout was on the case and, in a matter of hours, he found the bug – the little matter of a single, missing, semi-colon. With but a single keystroke, there was an instant re-connection, and the network has operated perfectly since then.

Trevor Macdonald’s life has been full of the ups and downs of technology deployments, and he described this one as “a dream. If everything else were as reliable as Door Tablet, my life would be a lot easier.”

Life at Plenty of Fish is today as hectic and challenging as ever, but Trevor has found time to stay in touch with the Door Tablet team, and with Avi in particular. Business comes into it, of course: POF has renewed its licence agreements and ordered further tablets, but most of the communications between the two these days is about their shared tastes in music.