I am happy to announce that I’m putting my foot into the web hosting business. Now, before I hear you groan, yes, I do realize that web hosts are a dime a dozen. I’ve made the decision with the particular idea in mind of staying small, providing a personal touch, and really thinking through specific use cases that provide value in light of today’s realities around privacy, data ownership, and control.

One of those use cases is what I call the “personal cloud.” In today’s vernacular, the “cloud” is typically associated with large modern enterprise systems, as a value-add to your mobile device ecosystem, or worse yet, part of a service that absorbs as much personal information about you as it can, in exchange for free storage and software. What might have started off as some convenient tools storing some snippets of data from your life, have grown into fairly comprehensive databases of your every thought. We’ve started to wake up to this reality; it isn’t hard to find an article warning of the dangers of exchanging your personal data for “free” services. What we often lack though, are digestible alternatives, and some sense of where to get started.

The good news is that there are readily-available alternatives, and although they are not free in the same way we’ve all come to expect, they are the outputs of many communities of developers working on a noble enterprise. They have developed what is termed “open source” software with the explicit purpose of enabling anyone to harness the full capabilities of their computer. These communities typically eschew central control and pooling of data, and work to reinforce individual data sovereignty, privacy controls, and transparency through open scrutiny of what each program is doing, where your data is stored, and when/how it is sent to others.

For both individuals and business I’m excited to offer what has amounted to decades of personal and professional experience working with these open source products; weaving them together for your needs, and making them as seamless for you as the tech giants have made their proprietary offerings. From setting up a private email server, to hosting your blog free from the confines of advertising or social media networks, talking about where encryption can fit into your life, to configuring your business systems like CRM, productivity, customer portals, or eLearning systems, each of these application areas have their own rich development community you can harness with some help!

More than anything I hope I can add value to your project in translating technical considerations into simple systems supporting your own projects, goals and life. I’d love to have a conversation about your plans, so feel free to reach out!