That is a question that many of you could be asking; without my brilliant techie friend, Kirk VandenBerghe, along with his partner and soul mate, Sandy Breckenridge, the “HeartBeat of Kaua’i” would still be a wistful thought fleeting through the mind of “the muse.”
The Kaua’i MuseLetter, which began as a small writing project around 2001, and which gradually blossomed into a full-on email networking publication with over 2,000 participants by 2010, has finally transformed into the next generation of the community network.
I first envisioned a web site for “The Kaua’i MuseLetter” a few years ago, but it would be some time before the dream of an online presence would materialize into reality. I wondered whether the MuseLetter would ever fulfill its potential of a higher level of contribution to the community that it served. Although I enjoyed producing the MuseLetter, it was an increasing challenge to keep up the pace and attention necessary to produce a quality and productive publication.
A Miraculous Event
Yet miraculous events often occur during the times when you least expect them. Around five weeks ago, I was visiting with my good friends, Kirk and Sandy. I had always had a fantasy that Kirk would be the one to build my web site, and we even talked about it at some point a year ago. But the conversation waned and the possibility receded into the quantum field of possibility from which it came. Besides, I thought, Kirk is just too busy.
Kirk is one of the most focused and productive people I know; he is a master web site developer and, along with Sandy, his partner, has created a highly successful online business. They buy and retrofit dysfunctional web sites, and transform them into full and productive vehicles on the web. (Like retrieving an old broken down ocean tanker and modernizing it into a sleek ocean liner.) They have over 20 sites online, but here are some of the leaders:
Because of the nature of their business, Kirk and Sandy need to keep pace with the swiftly changing currents of Internet search engines in order to maintain the highest possible web rankings for their sites. Kirk is so absorbed with servicing web sites, initiating new projects, and conducting his consulting business, that there is little time to commit to additional outside business activities, other than providing some minor support to close friends and associates.
The Brief Window of Time
Perhaps it was an opening in the quantum matrix, or an angel whispering in Kirk’s ear… whatever it was, Kirk said to me, “Look Richard, I think I know how we can create your web site. We can use the ‘ClassiPress‘ add-on to WordPress, which will also provide you with a blog. That way, people will be able to easily list their needs on your site and you will have a blog for your own writing projects. You can even offer guest blogging opportunities to specific people in the community. I have a small window of time right now before I leave for the mainland for a few months and get swept away in other projects, so you need to let me know immediately if you would like me to put up your site.”
Surprised by Joy!
Kirk’s offer took me totally by surprise; for a moment I did not comprehend the depth and generosity of his offer. “Did he just offer to build my site for me? Kirk . . . build my site?” Since I thought I might be dreaming, I decided to say, “Yes, of course,” just to see what would happen. “Could Kirk be serious?” I thought to myself. Well, Kirk was serious and he replied, “Great, let’s get started!”
The next day, Kirk was up and running, moving swiftly into the “HeartBeat” project with the same focus and attention that had become the hallmark of Kirk’s work ethic over the years; Kirk had participated in countless similar projects before that would eventually become online success stories. (Kirk was not going to make money on this project. “We will work out something, Richard.”) And so we were off!
Traveling at Warp
For the next three weeks, like the Star Trek Enterprise traveling at warp, Kirk dove into the architecture of the ClassiPress universe, mastering the intimacies of the system with the same zeal that enabled him to figure out countless systems before. As he worked, Kirk gave me various writing and processing assignments that enabled him to function as swiftly and smoothly as possible. I could barely keep up with his pace, and was full of questions that Kirk answered patiently, yet, perhaps with a bit of testiness after I would ask him the same thing several times over. Kirk was at warp, and I could barely do better than impulse.
But, I kept up well enough and in three weeks the finished product was ready for launch. Kirk was not about to waste any time… “OK, let’s do it. Let’s take the site Live . . . . NOW!” (Procrastination is not one of Kirk’s attributes.)
And so, we did; in one of my final communications with the “old” Kaua’i MuseLetter, I informed the community of “an immediate shift in the form of the MuseLetter from a strictly email-based system to a more sophisticated Presence that would be able to handle the information flow more effectively.”
The website went “Live”; astonishingly, over 200 people logged on to “HeartBeat, in the first 48 hours of its appearance; with the brightness of a nascent nova, “HeartBeat” was borne into existence. After a long and somewhat laborious pregnancy, “HeartBeat” emerged, healthy, happy, dynamic and fully alive.
Now, a couple of weeks later, “HeartBeat” continues to perform smoothly and efficiently, with little interruption and no “bugs.” I can already feel “HeartBeat” expanding into new and exciting possibilities of service. I think I may finally take a little vacation to one of the most beautiful, awesome spots on the planet… Kaua’i. With great gratitude, thank you, Kirk, and thank you, Sandy.
Aloha and Namaste
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