July 2, 2007 Friends and Family Today my wife was noting with me how our friends and family are really wearing on her (us). Not that we don’t all get along, we do. We get along very well in fact. What’s wearing on her is how nobody knows what the heck we do for a living. I must admit that I expected it to be a challenge to explain to people, but it’s been far worse than I anticipated. I think if we just ran a website they could maybe get that. Say, if we sold socks online. I could show them the URL and explain how we get orders and ship socks out and that would register. It would be close enough to a normal retail store that they’d get it. Maybe even if we sold table planning software or bingo card software they’d get that. They’ve had need of these things themselves and they could download it and play around with it. At family get togethers I could gather everyone around and show it to them and get the questions over in one swoop. It seems though that help desk software, which is downloadable but web based doesn’t resonate as well. Not to mention that it’s primary function is to run a service desk which none of them have every worked at or even thought about. I don’t blame them, but it can be frustrating from our perspective. It’s not an obvious problem, it’s actually very subtle. For instance, no body ever believes we’re making good money. It just doesn’t seem possible that there’s a market for this thing. So when we buy things (for instance, we’re buying a new house) we’re often greeted with questioning looks, as if to ask if we can really afford such things. I don’t blame them, heck half the time I don’t believe it myself. It’s all so virtual, with bytes going one way and money coming the other. It doesn’t seem real to me so it must be impossible to believe for them. There also tends to be a lot of helpful advice, like get a nice suite and go down to the business district and knock on doors. Things like that. That’s how business always has been done, so it’s impossible for those not living in our little digital world to believe that we do pretty much no advertising and no local business. For the last tax quarter I collected $100 in NY sales tax. Not much, because our customers are around the globe. Perhaps the most frustrating aspects are when we talk about working. For instance, my wife was discussing how hard we’ve been working on the new release to a friend of hers this week. How we’ve been testing and spent all day on the computer. It actually is extremely draining and yet there’s always silence on the other end of the phone. Almost a disbelief that such things could be considered actual work. That’s also often accompanied by a lack of anything to say in return, since the amazement at it even being work sucks any other thoughts out of their mind. It may sound like I’m ranting, but I’m really not. I just find it interesting how different a world we live in from everyone around us. It’s yet another of the stresses and challenges of starting a web based business.