August 11, 2008
As promised, we have our very own Web Guy in the Loopy Limelight today. Most of you know that Web Guy is also known as “College Guy” and “Our Favorite Son”, too. We’re lucky to have him in our family AND here at The Loopy Ewe! (And we have one son and one daughter, so we can call him “our favorite son” without slighting anyone else. As you might guess, Knitting Daughter is also “our favorite daughter”. Nice how that works out.) I thought you might like knowing more about him today. We couldn’t do The Loopy Ewe without him! Thanks to those of you who emailed questions for him.
Loopy: Hi Web Guy! So the first person wants to know: “Did Web Guy design your superb web site?”
Web Guy: Yes. When we first started, we wanted something nice and simple. The default blogging theme we were going to use for this blog seemed really simple and well laid-out, so I decided to build off of that and add a bunch of things here and there to make it good for an online shop. Since then and as we add new features, we’ve kept adapting it while trying to keep the site easy to use. A bunch of features came about because customers suggested them (like having little magnifiers on the corner of thumbnails…that’s pretty nifty).
Loopy: The Loopy Lady has mentioned in the blog before how you started building our website using one of the typical “template” e-commerce sites out there, but decided that you wanted to be able to add in too many unique things to it and so started over to build it our own the way, so that it would work best for us. I’m glad you did! Part two of the question above: “If so, did Web Guy study web design somewhere?”
Web Guy: Not really. I just end up browsing around the web and looking at a lot of different types of websites as I’m doing various projects and am always picking up new ideas to try and also ideas to avoid.
Loopy: Good point. It’s also good to know things to avoid as well. The next person wanted to know, “What is the most important thing he learned from his mother, and from his father?”
Web Guy: To find something you enjoy doing and do it – and it’s exponentially better if you can bring along others to help and enjoy it with you. Both have started their own businesses and, while frequently time consuming, you get to be directly involved with something that’s bigger than a plan you could have come up with individually. I mean, it’s really cool to be a part of a small, young business and community of over 30 countries like TLE. Not many kids are lucky enough to be a part of that, much less see how that happens and learn through it.
Loopy: You’d think there would be a way to come up with a business plan that necessitates us traveling to all of those countries “for business purposes”, right? The next person said, “I would like to ask WG if he liked his internship in Florida and how he compares life here and there for somebody his age?”
Web Guy: The summer in Florida has been pretty amazing (this is going to be my last week here…) and Sentry Data Systems is about the best technology service company I could have imagined to intern with. It was a bit weird living away from Home and Loopy Central – apparently they got a little crazy without me … going and doubling their space … good grief – but, it was fun. I lived with a couple friends from school (Taylor University) in Fort Lauderdale which was great. (Don’t tell the Loopy Lady – but I think every college person definitely needs at least one summer away from home … it was a whole barrel of new experiences and living/working with friends made it much more fun.)
Loopy: Ok, Web Guy. That is our secret. (But I think she agrees with you. Although I know for certain how much you were missed around here this summer.) The next person asks, “Now I want Web Guy to tell us how he got so smart, so young, that he could put together your fabulous web site.”
Web Guy: I ate my fruits and veggies as a kid. Other than that, I just like experimenting and trying new things and then applying them. It’s a vicious cycle, really.
Loopy: The Loopy Lady says you’re right – you were always good about eating those things. Another question, “I’d be curious to know how Web Guy got interested in computers in the first place.”
Web Guy: I don’t know – for as long as I remember, there’s always been some piece of technological equipment around that I could push buttons on and try to break. Lots of people use them and get frustrated when they break…I get curious about why they broke. But I guess that’s what a Web Guy is supposed to be, right?
Loopy: The curiosity sounds good. We hope that not too many things will break on the website for you to deal with, though! The LL says that you were hooked on computers from the first time you sat down to one, which was when you were about two. I guess computers have come a LONG way since then. What feature on the Loopy website was the most challenging one for you to write up?
Web Guy: Hmm, well, not sure which was the most challenging, but I think the most fun and interesting thing I’ve worked on is the yarn color finder. I’d never done much with color matching (still am a novice) so it took a bunch of time and reading, and then I’ve been experimenting ever since. It’s not perfect yet, but there aren’t too many sites around that let you find items by color, so I couldn’t resist putting that online for Loopy visitors to try out a while ago. When I first put it up, we only had a few hundred of our items colorized … now we’re up to most all of our products which is pretty cool. (P.S. – it doesn’t show out of stock products in your color search results now.)
Loopy: My personal favorite color is red. Like my socks. In case anyone wanted to know. So, what is the best and worst part of being The Loopy Ewe Web Guy?
Web Guy: There are definitely several “bests”: having a reason and purpose to learn and apply new technology/ideas, getting exposure to the business side of my Computer Science degree, and also being a part of a unique business that has such a fun community around it. As far as a worst part, hmmm. It’s a bit difficult being both College Guy and Web Guy – both are really fun and great experiences … it’s just a matter of finding the right amount of time for both. Also, maybe being relatively clueless about the various types of yarn we sell, but I try to leave that all up to the Loopy Lady.
Loopy: And I know that she is just as happy to leave the technology side of things up to you! Do you have any friends who are knitters? Do you knit?
Web Guy: Well, if you’re counting all the people I’ve gotten to meet through TLE, I’ve got a whole world of knitting friends. I do have a few friends who knit though – but being stuck in the Computer Science Department doesn’t typically lend itself to inviting the college knitting masses to bring their yarns and needles to sit behind computer screens. If you’re asking TLE Web Guy if he knows how to knit, he knows the basics … if you’re asking normal College Guy, he pretends to be a little more clueless.
Loopy: I think that the Loopy Lady just wanted to make sure you knew what this knitting thing was all about when she made you try a few rows one time! Too bad it didn’t stick, because we all think that knitting would make a good pastime for any college student or full-time employee who needs some relaxing downtime. Or pretty much anyone else, for that matter. Any sneak peaks at new features that you are working on for the website?
Web Guy: Well, let’s see. One thing that we’re working on is finding a better way to browse through our online shop. It’s kind of annoying to have to always go by category when maybe you want to go by vendor or weight or material or color. Another fun thing in the works has to do with connecting together the knitting world, blogging world, and The Loopy Ewe. Oftentimes people link their blog posts to the yarns and products they used when they are finished. Soon we’ll be showing some trackbacks for our products and vendors to let people see what the blogging world has said about them and see how products turned out. Feel free to send us your ideas, too. We’re always interested.
Loopy: Thanks for taking time out to talk with us, Web Guy. You’re the best!