Journal: News & Comment

Saturday, August 24, 2002
# 8:19:00 AM:

Good business

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Last year I did some work for Navarik, a Vancouver-based software company that creates programs for the shipping industry. It was founded by some friends I've known since university, Bill Dobie, Martin Ertl, and others.

Yesterday I visited them at their office in the legendary Sun Tower (once the tallest building in the British Empire—which tells you how long ago that was—and longtime home of the Vancouver Sun newspaper), for the first time in more than a year. I'm always impressed by the company, because it comprises a small group of very smart people who are genuinely trying to solve problems in an industry that, like its ships, has a lot of inertia. Plus the name, Navarik, makes the company sound like it's from Iceland or, even better, Norway, with all its we-know-our-ships cachet. Of course, given our coastline, we Canadians know our ships too, but Navackenzie or Navareh? somehow don't work as well.

[Wally's Burgers sign on Kingsway]

Navarik has already moved offices once in its brief history, and will soon move again, to another floor in the same building. On my way home, I dropped in to another small business that has never moved: Wally's Burgers on Kingsway. It opened as a drive-in half a century ago, when drive-ins were the latest, hippest thing.

Wally's looks much worse for wear today, the outside menus on the fence are all faded and peeling, and you have to go to the counter now (it was fully enclosed some years ago), but the burgers are still good and reasonably priced. I had a Deluxe Chuck Wagon burger -- the name shows its 1950s origins too -- which is a double burger where the patties overlap inside an oval bun, instead of being stacked as at most burger joints, plus fries and a drink, for a little over five bucks.

I wonder where Navarik will be in fifty years? Not in the same location, that's for sure.

Disclaimer (added May 2004): While I now work for Navarik Corp., this site is my own, and doesn't represent the company's position on anything.


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