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The Story of the SSQQ Web Site
By Rick Archer

Announcement from the August 1998 SSQQ Newsletter:


July was a big month for SSQQ on the Internet. SSQQ acquired not one, but two Web Sites!

David Schroeder created one at []  Eventually this will be the place where I put all my information on, but first I have to acquire a few skills. The sound of laughter can stop right now.

In the meantime Sylvia Key created a second Web Site at []. We have linked to her web site temporarily until I can get up and running.

Sylvia's Web Site is a thing of beauty and full of up to the minute information. Check out this month’s Surfer Dude. If you have some information or questions for her, contact Sylvia.

And hopefully someday you will be able to contact me instead.  RA

David Schroeder is the man who dragged SSQQ kicking and screaming into the 21st century way ahead of the rest of the field. Do you ever wonder why SSQQ has a web site – - with a name as simple to remember as or   The reason is David created the studio’s web site in 1997 almost at the same time as the most famous businesses in our country were making the same move. For a small business like mine to be at the cutting edge as the big boys is pretty impressive. I owe it all to David. He was way ahead of the game then and has continued to be ever since as well! 

Sometimes progress is gradual and sometimes it is dramatic. The arrival of the SSQQ Web Site in 1997 helped the studio take an enormous step forward with breath-taking speed. As our Web Site hits its 4th anniversary this month, I would estimate attendance at the studio has grown by 33% since David originally got us onto the Internet. I attribute most of this growth to the increased ease of communication afforded by our Web Site.

David and his wife Susan

Not only does the credit for this important move go entirely to David, he has made quite a few other contributions as well. For one thing, David has upgraded the SSQQ Web Site several times and on two different occasions he has rescued us from crippling virus attacks.  In addition, David designed the mailing list software that started the SSQQ Email Newsletter. Let me add that this summer it was David who added On-Line Registration to our studio as well.  As you can gather, I owe David my gratitude. He is indeed a very talented guy. 

David’s contribution is even more impressive when you realize he had to overcome a huge obstacle before he was even able to design our web site – me. Yes, I admit it; I was very resistant to his suggestion. How stupid can you get?  In retrospect, even a moron can see how valuable this idea is to a business. But David was so far ahead of his time, I could just barely grasp the value of his suggestion.

Change can be a scary thing. Once a company achieves a certain level of success, a natural resistance to change develops. The pet phrase of course is ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’.  However, history shows that resistance to change can also become a crippling, sometimes fatal mistake. For example, in the news this past weekend, I noticed the famous camera company Polaroid has filed for bankruptcy. As recently as the early 1990s, Polaroid was the industry leader. The prime factor cited as the reason for Polaroid’s fall from grace was its hesitation to enter the digital camera market.

Polaroid isn’t the first company to pay dearly for its resistance to change. Another notable example that comes to mind is IBM, the company once considered synonymous with the entire computer industry. IBM failed to recognize the future importance of PCs in the early 80s. By taking the idea lightly, IBM handled the development of its original PC somewhat nonchalantly. In one of the classic business blunders of all time, IBM tried to save to save money by contracting out the work on its PC operating system to an unknown little company called Microsoft. In other words, rather than do the necessary research in-house, IBM basically handed the keys to the farm over to Bill Gates. This is legendary mistake that allowed Microsoft to get its foot in the door.

Xerox committed one of the most classic business blunders of all time. In the 1970s, Xerox wished to be the leader in information technology. They collected some of the most brilliant scientists available and turned them loose in a laboratory in Palo Alto. Xerox became the company that did the basic research leading to the use of the mouse, icons, and ‘windows’. Unfortunately when Xerox executives took a look at this unbelievably innovative research, they decided it was a waste of time. Compounding their blunder, they allowed an outsider – Stephen Jobs of Apple Computers – to visit the laboratories one day and ask their scientists some questions.  Jobs quickly recognized how valuable these advances were. Taking these insights home with him, he had his own people incorporate the ideas into the groundbreaking work at Apple Computers. The leaders of yesterday – IBM, Xerox, and Polaroid - are nowhere near the leaders they once were.  Each company had its opportunity to join the technology of the future, but blinked. History shows they paid dearly for their reluctance.

The reason I offer this history lesson is to accentuate my own personal embarrassment at how reluctant I was to allow David to help me. I was ridiculously averse to adding this new technology.  If David had not literally INSISTED that I needed the web site, my studio would have likely have delayed this move for at least another year, perhaps longer.

David was a guest on the recent SSQQ Vera Cruz Cruise.

In other words, I was no more far-sighted than the guys at Xerox, Polaroid, and IBM.  But once David Schroeder convinced me how important it was to add a web site, at least I had the sense to open my mind a little bit.David was taking country-western dance lessons here at SSQQ in the summer of 1997. One night he asked me to sit down on the couch during a Practice Night. It was then he suggested I consider letting him design a web site for the dance studio. 

Looking back, I am still embarrassed at just how negative and fearful I was towards making this move. After all, the studio was doing very well. ‘What was the point?’ I asked myself. After all, Web Sites weren’t nearly as ‘cool’ in October 1997 as they are now. Space was expensive and the access to the Internet was usually painfully slow. I was very resistant to David’s suggestion.

As we all now know, this suggestion would be a no-brainer today, but the business environment was quite different in 1997. I would guess at most half the people at our studio were connected to the Internet. Most people had email only at work. Dial-up modems made access to the Internet painfully slow. Plus the studio was doing just fine. Why bother?

Despite all my objections, David would not take ‘no’ for an answer. He insisted I give it a try. To me, this shows just how farsighted David was. Despite a lot of questions, lots of arguments, and only the most lukewarm encouragement on my part, David persisted until finally he talked me into giving it a try. He went ahead and designed a very attractive initial web site for the studio. He registered the studio’s name and found a good local server to host the web site. He also contacted all the Internet search engines and found a way to get SSQQ at the top of the lists. Then he taught me how to make my own pages and publish them. 

At the very same time as David was designing the initial web site, I was simultaneously learning how to use my new custom-made computer made by Gary Richardson of TFW Computers. Like David, Gary is an SSQQ student who recognized how computer illiterate I was. He strongly suggested it was time I learn how use Windows 95 technology. Together Gary and David brought me kicking and screaming into modern technology.

In my own defense, as backwards as I was in 1997, once I got the idea how to use Windows and how to publish pages on the Internet, I took to computers like a duck to water. With my new computer and my new web site, now I was definitely ready to Rock and Roll!

David and one of the lovely entertainers from
 the 2001 Vera
Cruise trip. 

In 1998 I spent every spare moment working on the SSQQ Web Site. Dividends were immediately apparent. Right off the bat the SSQQ Web Site began to help my business dramatically. By publishing future schedules on-line, students were able to access this information quickly and conveniently.  Soon I realized we didn’t need our mailing list any more. Schedules that used to be printed, labeled with mailing addresses, put in bags, and carried to the US Bulk Mail office downtown became a thing of the past. 

Using Bulk Mail to send out the schedules was at one time the biggest business headache in my life. Practically overnight the SSQQ Web Site allowed me to discontinue the incredibly time-consuming process of mailing our schedule out. This saved us $10,000 a year in printing and postage costs, a great deal of time, and a lot of headache instantly!  You have no idea how amazed I was.  I was absolutely stunned by the power of the Internet and the SSQQ Web Site as a business tool!

A couple years later, I was amazed yet again when I realized how important the SSQQ Email Newsletter had become to my business as well. The SSQQ Web Site had grown so big that students were having trouble locating stories and important information. I sent out the SSQQ Email Newsletter just to help people find the monthly schedule and current information. 

David designed the mail-out program. Soon after I began sending out monthly bulletins on updates to the schedule of dance classes and parties. Just for the fun of it, I started to add a joke here and a story there. Then I started to add information about the history of the studio and write-ups on events that had just occurred at the studio. After receiving a lot of positive feedback, I realized the SSQQ Newsletter had become a ‘community newspaper’ for members of the studio.   Now the Newsletter became an event rather than just another intrusion in people’s In-Box. Again David gets the credit.

In a move that promises to take SSQQ even further into the future, this summer David designed our On-Line Registration system. Although we have only used it for two months, the response so far has been overwhelmingly favorable.

My guess is that at some point SSQQ will grow so much we will be forced to limit the size of our classes. In other words, walk-in registration the day of classes may eventually become a thing of the past. The day of mandatory Pre-Registration isn’t here yet, but when it does arrive, it is my hope David will design the technology to make it happen. He definitely has my vote of confidence!

If you are interested in developing a web site for your own business or adding a database, on-line shopping, or any other computer-based application, I strongly recommend you contact David Schroeder for help. You can contact him at

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