My Thoughts on Geeks on Wheels closed in Lawrence

Here is the original logo without the goatee

Here is the original log without the goatee

In 1996, I responded to an ad in Computer User magazine for a new company in Lawrence, Kansas called Geeks on Wheels that was being formed. I liked the concept of going onsite and helping people with computers. I had been doing it on my own as a side business and now was the time to do it as a full time job.

I was given the concept, an office manager and free advertising to do with what I wanted. Essentially I was an entrepreneur with venture capital and very little risk. Cool. I was living in Kansas City at the time and liked going back to Lawrence to help start and grow this business. I may or may not have been the model for their logo and decided to grow a goatee afterwards.

Here is the original team

Here is the original team

During my tenure there, I saw the shift from Windows 3.1 to Windows 95 and the growth of cable modems in Lawrence via the sister company Sunflower and its Datavision division (link to original 1996 story talking about the expansion). We had a team of technicians not just in Lawrence and the KC metro, but the entire Colorado Front Range (Fort Collins, Greeley, Boulder). We received national press for our funny and self-deprecating way of presenting computer repair service as well as received coverage in local competing newspapers, which is very unusual.

I left the company in 2000 when we were asked to report to the Sunflower Datavision division. I disagreed with that decision simply because I wanted to be able to support our clients without a conflict of interest. Much like when a hospital buys your doctors’ office, I didn’t feel we could be fully unbiased and supportive of the client. Incidentally if you want to read about the problems that happen when hospitals call the shots, read this very insightful Time article. My concern wasn’t with Sunflower or the employees, I just wanted to make sure our services were equally available to everyone in Lawrence and we served them regardless of their choice of ISP or cable company

While working there I not only made some great friends but I learned valuable skills in not just business management and marketing, but the added advantages of working for a newspaper and seeing how the industry worked. Much of it I learned through working on journalists’ computers and chatting them up while I worked. These reporting skills led to great coverage of DoctorDave and my writing career at GigaOM. My first technician at DoctorDave was a former coworker of mine at Geeks on Wheels, so it really does come full circle.

When Knology purchased Geeks on Wheels, I was initially optimistic (link) but my delight waned over time when so many jobs were lost and the eventually buy out by WOW (link) seemed to be a slippery slope of change as the quality of product and support have declined. The closure of Geeks was inevitable.

What I’m disappointed at was the lack of communication. When you call the main number 832-7177, the message simply says they are no longer providing service. We didn’t read about this closure in the paper nor were customers told about it. Personally, I would have loved to purchase the name, phone number and client list so I could reconnect with people.

When a doctor’s office closes, they let people know whom they are referring or simply they are closed. When you have a computer problem, and you’ve relied on a company, you don’t want to go searching for a new on . Is it that hard to let people know? What’s done is done.

Rest assured of a few things with us.

1) We are here to stay. I intend to do this job until they drag me away kicking and screaming, or in a coffin. Whichever comes first.

2) Should that time come, I have a clear plan written done of notifying customers of my departure. It’s very weird to write a letter that starts as “If you are reading this, I have died.”

3) We are delighted and excited to provide support to former Geeks on Wheels customers. We’ve received many new customers recently and some of them I remember from my Geeks days.

Not sure about us? Check out our reviews. While Geeks on Wheels provided not just residential, onsite support services they also provided medium sized business IT servers such as servers and wiring. We focus exclusively on small office, home office, and residential markets and refer other services to trusted partners.

Ultimately, I saddened anytime a business closes and jobs are lost, but I’m also enjoying being able to provide more computer repair service in Lawrence.

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