Presentation to Commissioners Court Evokes Public Response

April 12, 2007

"I bet there's a lot of margin on that deal," said an acquaintance, somewhat sarcastically, at a business mixer on Wednesday afternoon. He had read the piece in the Boerne Star that reported my proposed fee of $1,000 to supply the County with a new web site, along with a $75/month "maintenance" fee. To be more accurate, the $75/month is a management fee, which, I explained, does not include any sort of routine site maintenance beyond what we do to keep things running smoothly. My acquaintance seems certain that $1,000 would represent an obvious loss on Digett's part, should the County decide to take us up on our offer.

What I wish my acquaintance understood is that there is, indeed, a margin on that deal. In other words, Digett can profitably deliver such a web site. What Digett has done is to create a highly configurable template that can be significantly customized through the browser. This means that within minutes we can create and deploy a brand new web site with a unique look-and-feel. Granted, we're working within some pretty tight constraints when it comes to customization of appearance. But what we're trying to do with our Government Solutions program -- rather than to create the next visual masterpiece -- is to provide a highly-functional platform with an attractive appearance that empowers small government organizations to more effectively and efficiently serve their constituents through the web.

What I wish my acquaintance understood is that Digett deploys practically all of our web sites on Drupal, a popular and incredibly powerful content management system that provides (1) years of service, (2) a high return on investment, and (3) more flexibility and capability than most folks realize is even possible.

What I wish my acquaintance understood is that the $1,000 gives us, Digett, more than ten hours of time to help the County develop an effective information architecture and to train the County's designated content managers on how to use the system to easily and frequently add important content -- agendas, emergency notices, events of interest to the public, etc. Is ten hours enough time? Well, we'd prefer to have a few days to perform these tasks. But for this modest investment the County will end up with a web site that is better than most counties with ten times the population of Kendall County, Texas, including that of its largest and nearest neighbor.

What I wish my acquaintance understood is that Digett has been in the business of delivering high-end content management solutions -- along with solid web marketing consulting and top-notch visual design -- since our beginning. Going on six years now. We weren't this good when we started. Truth is, we've a long way to go. What we have developed is a team that has become to be in high demand by clients from New York to San Diego. What we have developed is a methodology that allows us to build highly capable and visually stunning sites in minimal time. What we have developed is the understanding that if we are not profitable, we cannot continue to provide the service about which we are so passionate.

So while it's true that I've taken a personal interest in small government solutions largely in the pursuit of providing a public service, and while it's true that I've always felt frustration at not being able to deliver an affordable site to small, deserving entities, it's also true that Digett can supply Kendall County with a more effective web site for $1,000 than any regional competitor could likely provide for five times that amount. I'm sure about that because I know what such delivery entails. Importantly, I know we can do it profitably. We've got a good thing going on at Digett. I hope our County officials will take dvantage of it. Maybe the City should follow suit.

For a look at our very first Government Solutions web site, check out The Sheriff's web site.