the ozline story
ozline.com is an old-fashioned business in a new-fangled world. Like the family-run shops that used to dot the world’s main streets, Tom March and Company are trying to make a go of it by doing right by people, providing quality work, and building a base of dedicated customers. What’s a little different is that the ozline.com staff is scattered across two hemispheres. Because our real work place is the Web, who’s on the ozline.com team is more important that where they live.
Clearly the Internet is changing the way people work, learn, and earn. No longer does an educator only teach from a classroom. No longer do designers have to work for someone else. Since 1998 we’ve gambled that if we can provide what you need, you’ll be happy to deal with a Mom and Pop shop who appreciates your loyalty and works to make sure you’re satisfied. Happily business is great and more importantly, fun and creative. So when you’re looking for a Web design partner, creating educational content for the Web or effective in-person support, why not pass on the hype, marketing, and high costs that come with larger companies?
We’ve written the ozline story so you can get to know us, trust us, and feel good about working with us.
Moving to Oz
The Friday after Thanksgiving, a container bearing all our worldly goods pulled out of our driveway in San Diego. It would take six weeks to arrive in Australia. During the wait, we got reacquainted with our Aussie relatives, bought a Holden station wagon, all major appliances, celebrated Christmas and one son’s birthday, and found a place to live. This kind of thing you want to do only once in your life…
Many people ask us why we emigrated to Australia. There were many reasons, but the two main ones are over there to the left feeding the birds. The boys’ grandparents and cousins live in Oz, there’s a great school they can go to, and we think Australia can provide a more challenging and robust youth.
We’re also in love with seven acres of bushland we bought and are working to regenerate. In a lot of ways it feels like we made the right decision
the birth of ozline.com
After settling in a beautiful region south of Sydney, Tom March needed to find a way to support his family. After working the Web for three years with Pacific Bell, it seemed more natural to commute over a 28.8 modem connection than a two hour train ride to Sydney.
Thanks to the support of some great friends, encouraging email messages, and a wife willing to take a chance, we decided to launch ozline.com. But we wanted it to be different. The Net’s full of people trying to make a buck; we decided we’d try to make an honest buck. The following beliefs guide our company:
The Internet is the friend of the talented individual
Tom’s brother Michael John March (whose artwork graces our web site) died in 1997 at the age of 40. Mike had been a gifted artist whose early death was partly due to the fact that he had to rely on distributors to get his work out to buyers. At their mercy when they lowered his percentage, Mike worked too hard to keep money coming in. Because we work on the web, we connect directly with our clients. We can respond to their needs and side step the middlemen, creating a double win for ozline and for users. This web site is dedicated to Mike’s memory.
If you build it, they will come
Because the Web is so incredibly huge, it brings together people who share common interests. Ozline.com serves both ends of the Internet spectrum: the web sites and the users. We help content providers make the most of their web sites through strategic design. We help web users with online learning strategies so that they can better work the web for education. Because there are so many potential customers and clients out there, we believe that if we offer a valuable service, enough clients will come our way to keep our lean operation in business. Since launching ozline.com, we’ve attracted prestigious clients, begun writing a column for a widely circulated magazine, and launched Web-and-Flow, our first fee-based site to support Web-using educators. So things are working out, hey?
You don’t make friends by annoying people
We built this site to be interesting to explore. We designed it with elegant, but quick-loading images. We didn’t do any silly things with java applets that only end up crashing your browser. If you contact us, we promise not to send you any tacky junk email. In fact, we’ve made a commitment not send email to anyone who hasn’t contacted us first. That would be annoying.
As close as we get to a hard sell…
I wonder what Microsoft would say its long term goal is?
Here at ozline.com, we’ll be right up front about it: our company is made up of people with families. There are kids who take music lessons and want to ride dirt bikes or horses. Wives who like pampering on birthdays. The ozline crew would like to relocate our office to the middle of the bush in a high-tech log cabin. Maybe near a running river… Isn’t that nicer than owning everything in the world?
The world changes, all dreams change…
On May 6, 2000, on the verge of the fruition of the above dream, my wife, Lisa Jensen, died suddenly of an arythmia of the heart. For our sons and I, life has gone on as we daily carry Lisa’s memory and goodness close to our hearts. Now, more than ever, our priorities of family, education, and caring help us appreciate that we can survive and support ourselves through the goodness and trust of our fantastic clients, families and friends. To learn more about a wonderful person who touched so many lives in her 40 years, see Appreciating Lisa.
Off to University!
Who would have thought it possible so many years ago when I started ozline.com and wrote about our lovely eldest son, that he would now be graduating from Year 12 and getting ready for university. This has been a miracle that many of you will have already experienced, but this is our first time. Here’s a lovely shot from the Farewell Dinner.