Category Archives: Barred Owl Web

We Are Made of Love: Getting Back to the Simple Things

After giving it some thought I have decided to begin steering my blog back to my personal life – and not just blog about technology stuff. I honestly haven’t come up with a great solution for blogging about my personal life, my thoughts, and generally what I’m doing and thinking about doing in the technology industry (like the post I wrote back in March on Technology Solutions for Nonprofit Organizations) versus raw technical topics that 3/4 of my friends & family would have no interest in (and hardly any understanding about).

So if you are one of those 3/4, I apologize.

As I am continuously working on ideas and plans for launching Barred Owl Web (Editing note: it used to be a different name) into a full-time venture that will provide web hosting and technical support to nonprofit organizations around the world, I do plan on blogging about pure, raw technical topics. But those will be on Barred Owl Web’ (edit: was Smooth Stone Services) website from now on (that website has recently been redesigned and upgraded with more features including an interactive forum & wiki as well as a blog for site administrators – like me).

I’ve had an interesting past few days, as well as an interesting few months. As many of my friends know, I am now officially in my last week of work at TechMission, the nonprofit organization I worked with as an AmeriCorps intern, for the past year. Next Wednesday, June 2nd, will be my last day. On Monday, June 14, I will begin a new internship with a freaking-awesome company called Acquia that provides Drupal services. I’m pumped.

In addition to my time at TechMission, I have worked hard on my own business plan and in building a stronger foundation for Barred Owl Web to eventually turn into my full time business / ministry. All of this time working has kept me busy to the point of not doing much else. Building your own business on top of working a full time job is hard! But this is what I plan on doing for at least the next year or two – and maybe longer.

But right now, I feel like I’m on a bunch of different rabbit trails. Here’s the main point of my blog tonight: I’m getting really excited for my future (whatever that is), but also have a lot of things on my mind. Just a few minutes ago, I set the following to be my Facebook status message:

I forgot how much of what encourages me: a) talking to old college friends on the phone; b) listening to Sleeping at Last (and other music – I don’t turn my stereo on much); c) Taking an evening to “chill” – do a bit of yard work, eat a good dinner, don’t have anywhere to go; or d) All of the Above. If you answered “D” then you win… well nothing. But it’s been a good night.

I have a friend getting married in under two weeks. For the first time in a long time, I cleaned my room yesterday. After being literally sick for about a month, I think I’m finally starting to feel better. And tonight – I took time to chill. Life is good.

Listening to Sleeping at Last a few minutes ago, their song Needle & Thread came on. I’ve never been one to pay attention to lyrics much, but a certain part of the song always sticks out to me whenever I listen to it: We are made of love.

I looked up the lyrics tonight, and they are beautiful. Here’s an excerpt:

That we are made of love,
And all the beauty stemming from it.
We are made of love,
And every fracture caused by the lack of it.

“You were a million years of work,”
Said God and His angels, with needle and thread.
They kissed your head and said,
“You’re a good kid and you make us proud.
So just give your best and the rest will come,
And we’ll see you soon.”

As I move on from TechMission to my next adventure at Acquia, I want to give my best in all I do. But more than that, I want to give my best in everything I do – building my own business, eventually doing “community development”, and even simply living life.

It’s the simple things in life – taking time to relax, read the Bible, do something physical, listen to good music, talk to old college roommates on the phone – that I don’t do nearly as often as I think I should. But, as Sleeping at Last mentions in another one of their songs, “You are meant for amazing things.”

Life is Short. Why waste it by staying too busy all the time?


Providing Technology Solutions for Nonprofit Organizations

Have you ever wondered how nonprofit organizations, NGOs, and small businesses obtain computer / IT technical support? Yes? I have too. You see, I believe that many small nonprofit organizations and businesses have very lousy IT support, and don’t know where to begin in increasing its quality. While I do not (yet) have hard statistics, I believe that many of these organizations can, and are willing to, better utilize technology in their offices and in achieving their mission.

Before I wrote another blog post that I published recently, I was planning on writing a more general post about an idea that I have been spending a considerable amount of time on over the past 2-3 months, although this idea has been brewing in my mind for over a year and a half.

I recently sent the following letter to some 200+ recipients, most of whom do NOT work for any nonprofit organization, but who I was hoping would be able to help me spread the word that I designed a survey and was looking for nonprofit organizations & NGOs to fill it out:

I value the work of nonprofit organizations such as yours and would appreciate your insight related to your technology needs. My name is David White, and I am the founder and sole proprietor of Develop CENTS, which provides IT services including consulting and web hosting solutions to individuals and small businesses.

For over a year, I have been considering launching Barred Owl Web into an organization that will provide affordable information technology services to any organization in the world doing community development. Areas of service could include IT consulting, server administration, web hosting solutions, office computer maintenance, and much more. My idea is to provide a combination of these services with professional attention to detail and understanding based on my experience with both IT and community development concerns.

As I launch this venture, I ask myself whether another technical support organization is needed. I believe that my vision is unique by laying a groundwork for very close interaction with churches and NGOs in order to best address their technology needs. I also believe that the technology used in the international community development sector is not as supported as well as it should be.

As I complete my business plan, I have designed a brief survey that I am hoping you will take a minute or two to complete. Your results are completely confidential, and your help will be greatly appreciated. If you know of other NGOs or churches anywhere in the world who might be willing to take this survey, I would appreciate your passing it on to them. (Edit: The link has now been removed).

If you do not represent an NGO or church, please do not fill out the survey. Instead, if you do know anyone who meets this criteria, please forward this email to them.

Recently, I have been working hard to network with people and to obtain advice from those who have experience in what I am trying to do. For various reasons, I am strongly considering to begin launching Smooth Stone Services into full time operations in June of this year and to find a part time job until I am able to have enough clients in order to keep me busy.

If you are in Boston, and you think that you know of a nonprofit organization or small business that could use my help, why don’t you tell them about me? I would greatly appreciate the reference. You can also contact me at our website¬†with any suggestions or recommendations.

A couple weeks ago, I met with a SCORE adviser, and plan to meet with him again soon. I have also been writing a business plan for over a year, and recently have been work on a Cash Flow Projection and have been putting together a budget into multiple Microsoft Excel spreadsheets.

I also obtained my MA Driver’s License recently – so I am an official, legal Massachusetts resident! Now, let’s hope that I am able to either find a job, find a part time job, or successfully launch a business in June. (Edit: In November, 2012, I moved back to the South East, to end up in Chattanooga, TN. Sorry, Northeast!)

I would appreciate any prayer, advice, networking connections, referrals, or other words of encouragement that you may be able to give as I continue to pray and think about this enormous venture. My heart, and my long term goal is to see CENTS working internationally and for me to personally be involved in and working within small communities in developing countries. I want to help the poor help themselves, and I believe that I can do this by providing quality technology services to nonprofit organizations and NGOs throughout the world.

This was edited on Monday, Dec 13, 2012 to change the name of the business from Smooth Stone Services (old) to Barred Owl Web (new business name), to fix a couple links, and to provide clarification that I no longer live in Massachusetts.