Origin of SampleServe
I started SampleServe.com back in 2001. The idea of starting a company that specialized in sampling and web based data reporting came to me in 2001. I was working at another company and one of our clients there was trying out a data system developed by a company on the East Coast. This system could keep track of their underground storage tank information and other basic information about ground water impact associated with the USTs. My exposure to the data management system intrigue me about the potential power of it. The actual data management system we used back then was somewhat cumbersome compared to what we have today, but none the less impressive for its time. I left the company in 2001 and struck out on my own to work on other things including furthering the concept of this "sampling and reporting company". I developed a relationship with that same software company out east and we began to further develop the software. I spent a couple weeks out east working with their programmer. Months later and hundreds of e-mails and phone calls later we had a product that we could demonstrate (not fully functional but something we could show). So I set out on the road to try and "sell the concept", having been told "until we had some customers" no further development time would be spent on the project.
It's hard to look back at the past and remember what life was like before the age of the internet, e-mail and cell phones, because we have all become so accustomed to using these technologies. However in 2001 and early 2002, most people, in my estimation, where still not using the internet for communication or information gathering on a regular basis. I estimate only about ½ the people I was trying to sell on the concept had a "work" e-mail. Many people had yahoo or hotmail e-mails, but not a dedicated work e-mail. I remember one meeting while trying to explain the login process and data protection concept to a potential client, being asked "What's a username?" Many people liked the concept of us doing the sampling for them, but they were not very interested in having us manage data on "the internet".
The concept of web based data management was...well it was "Future Shock", too much too fast for most people. So after about 6 - 8 months of trying to sell the service and having no success, I quit trying.
It was in early 2008, while having a conversation someone that did web based management of drug shipping data for pharmaceutical companies, that I decided to re-visit the idea of a "sampling and reporting company". Maybe the future had arrived.
First thing I did was try and get back the "SampleServe.com" domain name I had registered in 2001. You see, I had let it lapse because I figured "why keep it"? Well my search showed it was available and I liked the name so I picked it up again. I then called the company I had been working with out east. It seemed the individual programmers I had been working with were no longer working there and hadn't for a long time and no one seemed to know what I was talking about. So after some consideration and a recommendation from a friend I hired a local company with programmers and we started over from scratch. Not being a programmer myself, I've now learned this was probably necessary because the code used in 2001 is nothing like the code being used now.
After about six months and many, many, many meetings and checks with lots of "zeros" on them we had a product that was ready to go to market. The experience of selling the service now is much easier than it was back then. The concept is recognizable to most everyone. Once outlined, most clients can draw the connections and see the value and savings and future potential of the service. Although there is lots of work behind us, much work still needs to be done.