Journal: News & Comment

Wednesday, June 08, 2005
# 11:47:00 PM:

When five is old

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Balloon GirlsStarting an Internet-based company in mid-2000, just as the post–dot-com market implosion was in full collapse, seemed insane. Yet the people who started Navarik, where I work, did just that, and today the company turned five. We threw a bit of a party.

I remember when Bill got his first job in shipping after answering an ad in the newspaper, back when I was getting out of the music business and trying a (horrible) stretch in magazine advertising. By 1999 I was working for a software company, and my family stayed with Bill one weekend on Bainbridge Island near Seattle, as he tried his hand brokering ship voyages from the U.S.

The next year he and a couple of other former UBC colleagues we both knew—financed with their savings, some help from family and friends, and a few credit cards—started this new little company. In its first office, plugging in the teakettle sometimes brought down the web server.

Today I work for Navarik, and we have customers like Shell, Petro-Canada, Western Bulk Shipping, Star Shipping, Teekay Shipping, British Columbia's Chamber of Shipping, and Pacific Basin Shipping. We employ some of the best PHP and database programmers anywhere, and they've created large-scale, web-based software applications that do important work for huge companies worth billions of dollars—all based on open-source software, and open Internet data storage and exchange standards. It's real stuff.

Navarik, by the way, is about six months younger than my second daughter, who's barefoot in the blue dress in the photo. Lots can happen in five years.


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