These past few weeks have certainly been eventful & “earthshaking” … Diigo is a global company with our HQ in Reno, NV, USA and our R&D center in China (not outsourced, but an integral part of our team.) About 3 weeks ago, the Reno area experienced a 4.7 earthquake, and in a private conversation someone from out of the area joked that’s “shaking” on how well received the latest Diigo release has been.
On Monday, May 12, at 2:28pm Beijing time (6:28 GMT), a major earthquake, measuring 7.9 on the Richter scale, jolted southwestern China’s Sichuan Province. To give some perspective on how severe 7.9 magnitude is on the Richter scale: according to wikipedia, it’s equivalent to 600 megatons of TNT explosive, or energy released by the 1980 Mount St. Helens eruption! Mother Earth has lot of unsettling energy!
Our R&D center is based in Chengdu, only 90 km from the epicenter. When the quake hit, our whole team was still in a heated discussion on features in our regular international conference meeting (yes, we work very long and odd hours, and skype / gtalk are wonderful must-have tools …) All of a sudden, very loud rattling sound came through. Our team in Chengdu said calmly over skype, “There is an earthquake, we have to get out of here.” So I thought, well, it must be another one of those small tremors, so I kept skype connected, hoping to hear from them again soon.
Shortly, news broke – a major earthquake, measuring 7.9 on the Richter scale, hit the area, and Chengdu is only 90 kilometers from the epicenter! That got our US team really worried. Fortunately, we were able to connect with our Chengdu team a few hours later, and learned they are all safe and sound.
And it looks like they all had a unforgettable experience. One team member recalled, “As I ran down the stairs from the 27th floor of the 33-story highrise, the building twisted and turned, bubbled up and down, for a few minutes which really felt like forever. The building was making those scary cracking sound, making me think that it would just fall any minute before I got out.”
While our team members are all fine, their office and apartment buildings have suffered some damage, and being such tall buildings, we judged that it would not be safe to stay there while there are after-shocks still happening daily. So they are now temporarily housed in the ground floor of a hotel, with a rather unstable internet connection. So until they settle down more comfortably, our new development work will be slowed down quite a bit.
Our latest upgrade happened in the midst of communication interruption, so we had to temporarily roll back. All very bad timing and sorry about any temporary inconvenience. The good thing is that our operation is all based in the US, so that our service is not interrupted. Some of our teammates are certainly a bit shaken up, but knock on wood, everyone is all fine, and we will all be back to full swing in no time!
The earthquake was so strong and devastating, it was felt throughout very widespread areas, destroyed many buildings, as well as infrastructure like roads, bridges, communication towers, etc. There are also tons of after shocks, the highest one measuring at 6.1 magnitude. According to the latest official report, over 14,000 people have died, over 25,000 people still buried under collapsed buildings, and many more have been injured or are missing. Most sadly, many children were in school at the time, got buried under the rubble of their collapsed school buildings, and precious moments are escaping for their rescue. A Major calamity indeed!
The past few days have not been easy for me, as I have been traveling on the road, and just have a chance to sit down and write this blog post now. Our prayers are with all the people impacted by this tragedy. We’re doing Diigo because we thought we could make some difference to the world of internet users… Given the severity of this Sichuan earthquake, and at time like this, one realizes how precious our life is and what our loved ones, friends, and families mean to us. We are sharing our story, and doing what we can as individuals and as a company for each other, and for people of the affected community. We’d also like to appeal and urge people to consider donating & helping the needy. Please share this news. For more information, please visit the American Red Cross.
Thank you very much, and we appreciate your kind support!