Diigo's development temporarily interrupted by the 7.9 magnitude earthquake

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!

~ Maggie

21 thoughts on “Diigo's development temporarily interrupted by the 7.9 magnitude earthquake

  1. Wow, Maggie … Fare safely, and stay safe. My thoughts go out to the Diigo team and especially to all those hit so hard by this quake, in particular children and their families. Living in an earthquake zone myself, I’m totally in denial about the reality of an “event” happening here, and I can’t imagine what this must mean for a densely populated region and city (Sichuan & Chengdu).

  2. On the one hand, you can say, “It took an earthquake to knock Diigo to its knees.” Yet, it is horrible experience to be talking to friends and colleagues and then to have the conversation end…and you wonder, what else has this disaster ended?

    For far too many people, what ended was the one thing all of us treasure so highly. To know that so many–15,000 and growing–lost their lives is heart-wrenching.

    Maggie, I’m glad you and Wade are here in the U.S. It’s selfish, I know, but that 16 minute Diigo outage, 1,000 people died and many more were hurt.

    Keeping you in my prayers,
    Miguel

  3. I am thinking of you and your colleagues. You are making a difference! The fact that you are an international team speaks volumes about the future of collaboration. I hope the Diigo team recovers from this tragedy and comes back stronger than ever. Focus on your needs for now. You are in my prayers.
    Dennis Richards

  4. So sorry to hear this news, and thanks for sharing it with us. I have just donated to the Red Cross! A little something, but if many people pitch in, hope it will help!

    Diigo is running quite smoothly. I haven’t experienced any noticeable issue. I love Diigo and have been telling all my friends and colleauges whenever I have a chance. Diigo rocks!

    Take good care!

  5. Maggie,
    Just wanted you to know that we are thinking of you and the team. Be safe!
    We are sending donations to the Red Cross.

    Cathy

  6. thank you for sharing. I am glad to see that your team made it alive, though it is painful to read the numbers of people that didn’t make it, my prayers for them.

  7. Maggie, thank you for sharing this story. The people there are in our thoughts and prayers, especially the children. I will be sharing your story on my blog.

  8. Everyone in our team is touched by your encouragement. Thank you all very much for your kind words and generous support.

    We hope to get back to full swing shortly.

  9. Maggie & all the Diigo team, i just have read your post. Since I’d been using diigo all these days and thinking about life fragility watching the news, somehow i feel bonded to all of you and the work you do. In fact i came here to congratulate you because Diigo is ready for Mozilla 3.0, but now i understand that is most important to be ready for Life 2.008… Please receive mine feelings of solidarity. Go ahead!

  10. It is so good to hear from you Maggie. I wish you and your crew the best in getting a new office set up for you to continue your excellent work.

    Please express to the Chinese people that there are many of us around the world who are sending relief through the Red Cross (as you suggested), and that all of you are in our thoughts and prayers.

    I can’t even imagine how strong a 7.9 earthquake would feel. Having been in two in the 6.6 – 6.7 range was scary enough for me. Please let us know if there is anything we can do to assist you while you are rebuilding in China.

  11. Maggie,

    You’re in our thoughts. Everyday, my daughter and I hear about the tragedy on NPR during our commute. When something so horrifying happens, bystanders feel helpless. I can’t imagine what those living it must feel.

    Let us know how we can support you/them!

  12. We’re very touched! Thank you all very much for being such angels – your kind words and generous support for our team, and for the people who are impacted by this tragedy.

    A bit of a good news – our Chengdu team has found a new base & settled down. We’re ready to get back in action.

    Lots of great comments by all of you. Well said, Life 2.008 & beyond. Let’s all treasure what we have and positively embrace the challenges ahead!

    Sincerely,
    The Diigo Team

  13. Whoa! This appears to be old news, but it new to me. And for so many victims still fresh in their mind like it were yesterday. When you think of an earthquake or natural disaster you just pray no one gets hurt. Who cares about material things when a life is so much more valuable than anything we could ever posses. My prayers go out to all the family and friends who were involved in this tragedy last year.

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