Journey from hobby website to microbusiness

In the Beginning: The idea

Previous: Introduction

The idea for a website on Excel for Engineers came during the days I was doing my Masters at the National University of Singapore. I had about 10 years of work experience by then and I could see the comparison between academics and industry. A lot of material, especially in the area of process control was being covered in my Masters course using MATLAB as the computing tool. I was working in the area of process control and just couldn't see how all that theory could be used into reality if MATLAB was not available at work.

By that time, I had also realised the power of spreadsheets for technical computing. I had been working with spreadsheets for many years since the start of my career, initially with Lotus 1-2-3 and then with various versions of Excel. I had developed a few applications on Excel and some of those applications helped progress my career too.

Therefore I saw Excel as a means of bridging the gap between academics and industry. Lot of computing magic that happened within the black boxes of MATLAB functions could be made transparent and accessible to engineers. Initially I was thinking of developing applications specific to my work and using them at my workplace but then I could easily expand the applications to cover engineering mathematics tools that could be useful for students. The best way to do that was to put these tools up on a website.

The more I thought about it, the more it made sense. I also took the opinion of my friends and they all agreed that it was a good idea. No one, however, had any experience with doing websites, so I started looking up material on the internet. Along with technical stuff, there was a lot about how people owned sites visited by thousands and how people were making a living out of their website. That caught my imagination and fuelled grand dreams for the future.

Next: The dreams