In the summer we began a new tradition - renting a houseboat and making our way around a large lake, enjoying the natural scenery and drinking tasty beverages.
Later that summer we built the world's first driveable webcam, which people could control and communicate through over the internet. In January Jason and Rob went back to school, and Grant stayed on part-time.
In late 2001 Adrian
took his place as Revenue Ninja, looking for financial lovin' in the vast emptiness of the Internet. Unfortunately, all he found was ... uhh, never mind what he found.
When the stock market crashed in April 2000, the effects didn't hit our industry right away. Eventually the ripples started to rock our little boat, and it was time to pick up the pace. We couldn't have couriers asking, "hey, is this a daycare?" anymore. (Yes. It happened.)
We realized that bean bags should be part of the culture while not representing the culture. We got a boardroom table and chairs instead, and our meetings went more quickly.
We cleaned up all of Aaron's electronics junk, installed an alarm system and bought some plants. We upgraded our invoicing and tracking systems and started the long move to a certified accountant.
To keep us all on-track and moving ahead, Jason
came onboard in June 2002 and became Wondermill's first Co-ordinator. We decided to diversify the company so that online advertising wasn't our only focus. The wise lady from Cheap Oracle Tuesdays saw opportunity in the people-matching industry, and we always follow her advice. ;In November 2002, Nick
became the new division's first programmer.
We found that most matching services were focused narrowly on dating and romance, but used simple matching algorithms which didn't allow for the fact that people are complex beings. They gave equal weight to someone's hair colour and to whether or not they smoked. That's how a computer thinks, but people have much more subtle preferences.
The focus on romance also left out other ways of finding or connecting with people. We intended to build a broader algorithm, that would also be able to help you find a new roommate, study partner or even someone to walk your dog. If Google helped you find good websites, we would help you find good people.
Ultimately we decided to pursue other projects with smaller-but-faster revenues, but we still look wistfully out the window at this industry from time to time.
In January 2003, three more hapless souls became Wondermillians. Greg
joined Nick on the people-match programming team, Jordan
added some muscle to AdNet sales & biz-dev and Ryan
took over development for Adnet.
We were crossing over an invisible line between tiny startup and small company. For our annual ski trip we booked two rooms, and we couldn't just head over to John's Place for lunch anytime we felt like it. We were finally able to add group RRSPs, Employee Assistance Plans and benefits packages to what we offered employees. While we weren't large, we weren't small anymore either.
The noise level in the office was rising. The lounge had been turned into a meeting room long ago to give us more workspace. Now, the makeshift lounge space was requisitioned again, to make room for four more desks.
We were running out of room.
1 2 3 4 5