Though he settled down for a time to start a farm in Freeman Township after selling his Web development company, Ross Lasley said his inner geek wouldn’t stop calling. Still based out of Freeman, Lasley now calls himself The Internet Educator and teaches clients around the world how to use the Internet for entrepreneurial purposes. He previously ran KISS Computing with his wife before selling the company in 2006.

Age: 35

What businesses were you involved in before you started your company? I started doing professional (no kidding) computer consulting in 1985. I was 11 years old. I’ve always been an entrepreneur and a geek.

How did you get into Web development? I’m a plumber’s kid, my father was involved with the IBM 360 as a design engineer. I loved programming and building computers from my earliest childhood memories. I got into the Web because of my love for the open culture of it and the fact each person has the same opportunity no matter where they come from or what level of financial resources they have.

What did your company do? KISS Computing was a full service Web site design and development company — so we did design, content creation, custom functionality, Internet marketing and analysis.

What did you win your Webby for? whalewatch.com

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Why did you decide to start up a farm? I tried to retire to the country and become a gentleman farmer. I failed. I discovered that being a geek is not just what I do but it is who I am. I will always love Spruce Nubble Farm and my wife continues to run the operation as a homestead with gusto – I feel privileged to live here and also be able to be a geek.

Are there any areas where tech skills and farming skills overlap? Absolutely — from animal husbandry databases to all the gizmos involved with farming, there is substantial overlap.

What led you to become The Internet Educator? I know depression is a bad answer, but it is an honest one. I needed to have computers in my life. The Internet Educator uses a heart-driven business plan — the main purpose of my business is to challenge my heart and mind to keep me happy by servicing people with Web confusion. My values and my deep belief in Karma have led me to do some weird stuff with TIE — like my 100 percent money-back guarantee and the notion I won’t take on a job if I am not convinced I can deliver at least $2 worth of value for every $1 paid to me. This is far and away the best job I have ever had. I love what I do.

What are some of the things you teach? The single biggest thing I teach is how to transform knowledge into understanding. I am at work on a book now and the working title says an awful lot about my teaching method: “The Way To Think: a road map for Internet Entrepreneurs.” This came from so many of my “answers” beginning with the line: “The best way to think about that is…” I teach entrepreneurs how to be profitable and not freak out about the Web. I teach Web professionals how to talk to people that aren’t geeks. I teach people that they do not need to be afraid of what they think they don’t understand. I teach people about the power of the Web to help all people.

What’s the biggest mistake you usually find that clients are making? The most common mistake is a belief in a silver bullet — a single item that will solve all Web problems and lead them to massive profitability. I suppose we see this in the diet and exercise world as well — lots of folks think the latest fad or pill or trick will fix everything, when what they really need is a balanced diet and a reasonable activity level.


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