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Web Design in a Browser (with Ajax)

Ajaxian and Valleywag are talking about the “Google is building a browser-based web page editor” rumor.  We (Homestead) delivered a browser-based (Ajax) web site design tool last year at Demo 05.  We call it SiteBuilder Lite.  SBL is compatible with our primary editing tool, SiteBuilder, and is usually a user’s first stop for customizing their site after selecting one of over 2000 professionaly-built QuickSite designs as a starting point.

As with SiteBuilder and the rest of our product line, we’ve been updating SiteBuilder Lite every month or two to keep it fresh and to give more value to our customers.  I’ll be interested to see what Google comes up with and whether or not they’ll be able to catch up to us.

Why YOU Should Work For Homestead, Part 1: Five Cool Recurring Events

I’ve been with Homestead Technologies for 9 years and I love it for a lot of reasons. This is recruiting season, so I find myself talking about those reasons a lot to interested candidates. While I’m at it, I thought I’d document them here, too. My five part series starts with Five Cool Recurring Events. [FYI: Follow this link to the JOBS page.]

1. Company Retreat – Each year, our HR team puts together an incredible 3-4 day getaway for the company. Last year it was Hawaii. We’ve also been to Mexico, Santa Barbara, Las Vegas and Tahoe. The format has evolved over the years, but the ‘agenda’ usually includes a lot of free time, one big dinner with everybody, a team building excercise and a working session. The company retreat is always a blast!

2. Talent Show – Held annually, the Talent Show is insane. Thai Bui, our CTO, organizes and hosts it at a local auditorium. Volunteers put together acts(sometimes funny, sometimes showing serious talent) in groups or as individuals. Family and friends are always invited and a dozen or so employees from Homestead’s past usually show up. A few years ago, one of our dev teams learned advanced jump-rope techniques and amazed us all.

3. Anniversary Dinner – In October, we all get dressed up and take over a swank San Francisco restaurant(a new one each year) to celebrate 52 more weeks of Homestead. Food, drink, dancing. Good stuff!

4. Monday Lunch – Every Monday, in ‘the lounge’, we gather for lunch(delivered by local restaurants). The executive team checks in on our current goals and interesting info about each team. At the end of each month, the financials are presented. This is also the venue for detailed presentations by individual teams. On a weekly basis, we are exposed to a ginormous cavalcade of information, reinforcing the fact that we are all working together to build a wildly successful business.

5. 1on1 Lunches – Everyone at Homestead has an open door policy, Justin(our CEO) included. But maybe that’s not enough. So, in case you don’t proactively take the time to talk to him, Justin schedules a lunch with you at least once a year to check in and get your opinion on the company’s progress.

I’m open to suggestions about what topics to cover in my next several posts. My current plan includes Five Cool Customers and Five Cool Projects. I’ll probably cover Homestead’s commitment to Community Service at some point, too.

The Bui Blog

Thai Bui, my friend and the co-founder and CTO of Homestead Technologies started blogging again today. Have fun, Thai!

The best part of working at Homestead is the people. The people we work for(our customers) and the people we work with(our partners and fellow employees). Thai is one of my favorite people to work with.

Random Thai facts:

  • Once a year, he organizes and hosts the Homestead Talent show. We’ll have to put some video clips on youtube and google video. It’s really an amazing event. At each show, 10-20 employees from Homestead’s past show up, in addition to all the current employees and their families and friends. Good times!
  • Every other year or so, Thai organizes a scavenger hunt for the developers. It’s a pretty involved problem solving adventure, taking us all over the bay area in teams. It’s like Stanford’s ‘The Game’.
  • There is a Thai-oriented Easter Egg on the main screen of all of our SiteBuilder products(SiteBuilder Lite, SiteBuilder, SiteBuilder Classic(retired) and SiteBuilder Online(retired). Credit for that tradition goes to Michael Bender, who lives on a boat.

Anyway, Thai’s a great guy and I’m looking forward to reading his blog.

Homestead Technologies – Katrina Relief

Justin sent this message to our customers today.  I hope everyone affected by the disasters will have a safe(and HAPPY) holiday season.

Dear John,I’m writing to share some exciting news with you regarding Homestead’s Katrina Relief fundraising efforts. Together with the rest of the Homestead community and the Homestead Foundation, your kindness and generosity has helped raise over $50,000 to ease the pain and suffering of countless families displaced by Hurricane Katrina.

We are deeply touched by how many of our valued members rallied together almost instantaneously to help in this time of dire need. Within minutes of posting the donor form on the Homestead website, there was an outpouring of support from the Homestead community, not only through much-needed financial contributions, but also through a flood of heartfelt posts expressing thoughts and prayers for all those affected by this disaster. Thousands of you placed the Katrina Relief Element on your site, multiplying the reach of our community of members. We also received dozens of submissions from businesses in the affected areas, and we have linked to several that would appreciate your support over the holidays.

Due to the massive destruction of the Gulf Coast region and the extended needs of families trying to rebuild their lives, Homestead has decided to continue our relief efforts through December 31, 2005. As we enter the holiday season, if you are able, please help us reach our goal of raising $100,000 by the end of this year. Most of the acute disaster relief efforts have ended in the Gulf Region, but the Herculean rebuilding effort is tasked to the multitude of under funded local and government agencies that the Katrina Relief Fund was created to support.

You can donate directly to the Homestead Katrina Relief Fund by clicking this link. The Homestead Foundation will match every dollar donated by our customers, their families, and their customers, up to $50,000. The Homestead foundation and the PCF Katrina Relief fund are 501(c)3 organizations and all donations are tax deductible.

On behalf of everybody in the Homestead family, thank you for your continued support, and have a safe and wonderful holiday season.

Justin Kitch

CEO

Homestead Technologies

Homestead QuickSites

Homestead QuickSites is live today. Big day around here!!

QuickSites by Homestead

We’ve been working on a new product at Homestead and we recently announced it at DEMO 2005. It’s going to help a lot of small businesses get a site off the ground fast. After that, they can use SiteBuilderLPX(which is also very easy to use) to make more sweeping changes if they need to.

Here is some of the DEMO coverage:
Video of Justin(CEO, Vocals/Guitar), Dave(CFO, Guitar), and Thai(VP of Development, Presenter) winning DEMOGod
– Scoble’s take is here and here.
WSJ article
PCMag’s coverage

PhotoSite at Demo 2004

At Demo last week, we showed PhotoSite Mobile. Soon, publishing images to PhotoSites will be as easy as sending them in email. Also, you can now browse PhotoSites on small devices, like color-screen cell phones.

Here is some of the coverage(Compiled by Josh from Homestead’s PR):

Associates Press:
http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/ap/20040216/ap_on_hi_te/digital_photo_sharing_2

PC Magazine:
http://www.pcmag.com/print_article/0,3048,a=119340,00.asp

San Jose Mercury News:
http://www.mercurynews.com/mld/mercurynews/business/columnists/tech_test_drive/7972406.htm

Xinhuanet:
http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2004-02/18/content_1319982.htm