The Story of the SSQQ
By Rick Archer
Announcement from the August 1998 SSQQ Newsletter:
SSQQ INVADES CYBERSPACE!!
July was a big month for SSQQ on the Internet. SSQQ
acquired not one, but two Web Sites!
David Schroeder created one at [ssqq.com] 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 [web.wt.net/~catruled/SSQQ.htm]. We have
linked ssqq.com to her web site temporarily until I can get ssqq.com up
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
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 – www.ssqq.com -
with a name as simple to remember as www.cnn.com
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!
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
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
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
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.
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
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,
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.
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 dot.com
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
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
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 Schroeder@e-cats.com