Thursday, March 08, 2007

My new business venture

For the last year or so, I have been hard at work implementing my latest business idea. It's a web site where one can manage one's home inventory, and is called My Online Home Inventory (MOHI for short).

I got the idea for MOHI back in 2003, when a third of Kelowna's ~100K population was evacuated because of the Okanagan Mountain Park Fire. My mum was one of the evacuees, and we quickly ran round her house grabbing the most important stuff. One of those items was a notebook containing a rudimentary inventory. A great idea, I thought, but keeping it on a piece of paper ain't so great: paper tends to burn when the house in which it is is on fire, it's hard to update, and it's just too fragile a medium for storing so important. Being the geek I am, it didn't take long to come to the conclusion that storing one's inventory on a secure web site was ideal. (Don't talk to me about those inventory programs you install on your computer: what are you going to do when that computer is destroyed or stolen?)

Before you say "it'll never happen to me", check out this photo:

If this was your home, would you be able to remember everything that was in it, especially when you're trying to cope with the grief such an event would engender? If you have contents insurance (and who in their right mind doesn't), doesn't it make sense to have an accurate inventory so that you can replace everything you're paying to insure? The only thing worse than losing everything you own is not knowing what you've lost...

I was busy writing my book, Solaris Systems Programming at the time, so the idea got put on back burner. But in November 2005 I started thinking about MOHI again, and started writing a business plan. I started writing the code in February 2006, and we launched on March 1 this year. Tomorrow we're exhibiting at our first home show, in Penticton.

I'll spare you the heavy sales pitch, but I invite all my readers check out Take the online tour, or try the read-only interactive demo account (log in as the user "demo", using "demo" for the password too) which I used to create the tour and help pages.

Techie notes: the site runs on a Sun Fire X4200 running (of course), and makes use of Solaris' many innovative features, including Zones and ZFS. Yep, I put my money where my mouth is: as far as I was concerned, Solaris on Sun hardware was the only sensible option!


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