A little more than a year ago, Mary and I had a discussion about the many projects that we both have had in the backs of our minds and would like to make a reality. We thought a corporation would be good in that it could provide us with the legal entity and a single structure in which we could register our copyrights and trademarks. It might also provide us with some tax relief and if things went well, could very well represent a major part of our future.
Well, these things are all well and good until you find that our vast array of projects are just that, vast, varied and hard to find a simple way to describe what our company “The Web We Weave, Inc.” is all about. I guess the best way to present this is to go through our current list, and how we came about these as they all lead to a very interesting story, at least to Mary and me.
I have been interested in fuel consumption and fuel consumption tracking since about as far back as 1990 or 1991. Somewhere around this time, I was spending a lot of my time traveling between Canada and the USA. I would often travel with my laptop and liked to keep an eye on my fuel consumption. There were a few calculator type programs that could do this when in Canada and we used them at the family-owned dealership to verify fuel consumption for our customers. The problem that I had was when I traveled to the US; I had to do all these extra conversions from a US gallon into liters in order for this other program to do the calculation. I figured that there had to be a better way to do this that would take the various measurements and do the conversions on the fly in the background.
As a result of this, I built an application that I later distributed as shareware called “win-Fuel” and it was written as a desktop application in Visual Basic 1.0. It did exactly what I had in mind. Radio buttons that switched between miles and kilometers and a second set of radio buttons to switch between Liters, Imperial Gallons, and US Gallons. The display of the results showed the consumption calculations in four formats; Miles Per US Gallons, Miles Per Imperial Gallons, Miles Per Liter, and the number of Miles per 100 Liters (the official metric calculation). I did have some success with the application but more importantly to me than the success was that it provided me with the experience of building a simple application and taking it through all the stages; from concept, development, to distribution. I also built a context sensitive “help” and a “setup” program to complete the project.
I had always planned to go back to this little application and add the ability to store the information in a database of some sort and use that data to compare past trips with the current calculation. However, that never did happen. But now with the availability of the Internet and the ease at which what was once deemed a desktop application can now be transported into a web application and provide an even larger data source, this is a possibility. It is my belief that the collected data could be quite valuable to governments, environmental groups, car manufactures as well as individuals. Up to the present, fuel consumption has always been measured under laboratory conditions and real data has never been taken into consideration.
I see this site as a free service to the users of the application which will allow me to be able to provide a market with the collective value of the data. I also see this as a central place where fuel consumptions can be discussed in the form of forums and discussions, as well as, articles on fuel consumption such as tips on getting better gas mileage and regular vs. premium grade gasoline.
Mary has always had an interest in the Stock Market and has been very good at doing the research and analysis necessary to make good stock market picks. From this interest she has wanted to be able to share some of this research with others in the rather unique way of only looking at and grading stocks that can be bought directly from companies, the official term is DRIPS (Direct Reimbursement Investment Programs).
One of the many interesting things that I learned about this as Mary has been explaining it to me, is that stock bought through a stock broker is not in your name but instead is being held for you under the brokers’ name. Buying directly from companies enables you to buy stock in your own name, have a right to vote at shareholders meetings, avoid stock broker fees and a whole lot of other benefits that Mary can tell you about on her new site. Sounds pretty good, doesn’t it?
Anyway, the model for this site is a choice of either a monthly or yearly subscription basis or on a per use basis. The idea being that during the valid times that the client has chosen they can go into the site and pick out the various stocks that are graded for their safety and growth potential and provide links to the web sites if available, to the various companies that do indeed sell their stock directly to you. The data itself would come from a variety of sources and it can be assured that Mary has already validated that all the stocks listed on her site are available as DRIPS.
Then in the last year that Mary was working in the Activities Department of a High School, she came across an interesting opportunity. It seems that this High School would type up a number of lists for the Awards Night and the Graduation Ceremony. One list would be a list of all the Awards, the Presenters and the students that received that award. This would be used during their Awards Night Presentation. Then on Graduation there would be a program that listed all the students and the awards that they received during the Awards Night. Besides this being a lot of repetitive work, it was always easy to have many errors and a lot of time was spent proofreading the lists.
Mary knew there had to be a better solution to this and brought the problem home where we designed an Access Application where Students, Presenters, and Awards were only entered once, with links to each other and the result being two Access Reports that could be either exported into Word for some further formatting adjustments or Printed out right from Access to be given to the Printer to print these two programs. This proved to be quite successful and the next year, this High School had Mary come back to provide some instruction and make some minor tweaks to the application.
It did not take long for Mary and I to realize that if this High School had such a large task in front of them when it came to the end of the school year, so would every other High School and Middle School in the country. However, the Access Application has a bit of a quick and dirty feel to it and would need to be re-engineered into a more commercial product, especially if we were going to support it. Plans are in motion to build a complete application even though the decisions for the final name have not been reached yet. Our plan is to build and then market this application starting with all the schools here in Southern California.
Several months ago, Mary was questioning me about the future of our little corporation. We had the company in place, although we had not opened any bank accounts or anything further then shelling out the legal fees involved in getting ourselves set up. There was no point in going too fast, as all the projects that we had been talking about so far would cost us money and time to develop and we really were not sitting on top of any real surpluses of either. Still wanting to do all these projects, we would just go about it more slowly. There was a need to upgrade our entire network, as the servers and workstations were old and having great difficulty keeping up with the technology that we were using for development and storage.
Then near the end of January 2002, everything changed. The company that I had been working for over the last 3.5 years closed its doors. Now I was officially unemployed, and The Web We Weave, Inc. was not able to support us at this time, or so we thought. The last client that I worked for through my employer was attempting to put a number of the team members on their project back together, offering them short term contracts.
I was one of the lucky ones, and as it turns out it worked out quite well in that we put the contract in the name of The Web We Weave, Inc. and now we are doing custom software development.
Besides all of these more or less technical projects, Mary and I have interests in writing. Mary has a number of ideas for books that she would like to write and I still have a desire to do things with music. We both would like to write articles for various publications as we both feel we have something to say and would like to share it with the rest of the world.
Well, we are back to this question, what is “The Web We Weave, Inc.”? And you are probably as confused about this as we are. We made a list of words that we thought were some descriptions of what describes the nature of our company, but still no simple mission statement.
- Nothing but Direct
- Fuel Consumption
- Software Development
- Web Development
- AGP Maker
- Business Intelligence
- Money Making
- Service Provider
- Cutting Edge Technology
We will keep working on it, to find that perfect mission statement and motto that clears up exactly what “The Web We Weave, Inc.” is all about. It just shows that I was wrong; you need more then just a cool name.