A few things we've learned by being on-line.
Even though we've got a new mobile friendly landing page now, the Sealander & Company legacy web site is almost prehistoric by Internet time standards. We've had a presence on the web in one form or another since 1995. I didn't really know what to expect in the beginning. All I knew was that this was a place I needed to be. From the day a friend insisted that I try out a fascinating new software application called"Mosiac," I was convinced that the web was going to change everything. I guess it did change everything actually, but certainly not in the ways that I'd expected
In the early days, you could easily look at every web site on the Internet in a single weekend. It was an interesting novelty, but Usenet was still the place to find and share information. I loved Usenet. Newsgroups still were amazing doorways into worlds I had never even imagined before plugging my bulky, Singer sewing machine sized Osborne 1 computer into a 300 baud modem and going online for the first time. I became an avid reader of newsgroups and eventually began posting to some of my favorites. This exchange of ideas expanded my horizons, but it left me wanting something more. You had to post rather prolifically on Usenet to leave any sort of a mark. Every few weeks a new tide of posts would replace the old and most of what you read was quickly forgotten.
This was what was so intriguing about Mosiac and these odd new things called "home pages." Here, for the first time, was an easy and affordable way to set up a permanent residence on the Internet. I remember learning the rudiments of HTML within weeks of that first fateful introduction to the concept of browsing. I was never very good at programming languages, but HTML seemed easy. It reminded me of those silly tags you had to use in WordStar and other early word processors when you wanted to print something in boldface type or italics. Could it really be this easy to build your own home on the Internet?
I quickly found an ISP, built a simple little web site and have been here ever since. In some ways, this simple little act of homesteading changed everything about my business and personal life. In other ways it changed nothing at all.
Even the Luddities among my clients use e-mail now. I don't go to meetings nearly as much as I used to. In fact, it's rare that I even leave the house anymore. You've got to be careful what you wish for. I used to think it would be wonderful if you could make a decent living without having to go to the office, sit in one mindless meeting after another and continually worry about what people were saying behind your back. Now I kind of miss those days. I don't travel much anymore. It's too expensive, especially when all my clients really want is the Microsoft Word file I wrote anyway.
To tell you the truth, it was a lot more fun to spend a week in Los Angeles editing TV commercials in-between fancy meals at trendy restaurants on Melrose than it is to cut together exactly the same thing on a souped-up Macintosh G4 in my spare bedroom. I do pretty much the same things I always have, but I do them now without assistants and without the shallow glamor that comes with making mountains out of molehills. The Internet has allowed me to trade a life of first class hotels and AAdvantage miles for a chance to work until midnight every night in the comfort of my own home.
Life has a way of keeping everything in balance. The stress is gone, but it has been replaced by a severe case of cabin fever. My gas, car repair and dry cleaning bills are lower, but my telephone bills have gone through the roof. Maybe nothing has changed at all. The Internet has made it easy for me to introduce myself to the world, but when all is said and done, my world is exactly the same as it has always been. None of my best clients discovered me on-line. They all came to use my services as a result of an old-fashioned word of mouth recommendation from a friend or another client. It makes sense I guess. I certainly trust the recommendations of trusted friends far more than anything I read on the web.
I don't really trust the web at all anymore. My e-mail is filled with spam and most on-line inquires about our services are just fishing expeditions to find the lowest price. I used to think the Internet was a place where the traditional rules didn't apply. I thought it would be easy for like-minded individuals to form communities, build relationships, make money together and mutually expand our horizons. Unfortunately it's just not that easy. I think being on-line seemed like such a heady brew in the beginning because the only other people on-line were early adopters like myself. Now that my relatives, all my clients, and most of my neighbors share this patch of virtual real estate with me, I find that the Internet I rhapsodized about just a few years ago now has all the allure of a kitchen telephone or clock radio.
I haven't given up on the Internet completely. With all the virtual real estate I've staked out over the years, I'm now experimenting with "monitizing" some of my pages. It's not as easy as it looks. So far, I'm making about a penny a day from Google for letting them place ads from other companies on my site. At the same, I'm paying Google about four dollars a day, to run ads promoting my own site. Such a deal. No wonder Google is making so much money.
Maybe the web still has some magic for you. I hope so. If you stumbled on this place while looking for something else, I hope you'll stick around for a while. There's a lot more here than you might think. What began as a simple marketing tool for my business has slowly morphed into a repository for every stray thought I ever had. Hopefully you'll find something that will catch your interest. It would be nice if I could show you the entire site in the same order that I put it together, but web sites don't really work that way. Most of you will enter randomly through a back door, wander through a few rooms and then exit again without ever finding the entrance to this place. At any rate, whatever brought you here, I hope you find what you were looking for.
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