Surviving the "Dot Com Slash
As you may have already read, MailVICE was created by the owners of an ISP to solve their own email problems.
That ISP, simply known as "IQ", started by offering the East Tennessee (USA) region the first locally-owned
high-performance Internet backbone network in the mid 1990's. We graciously acknowledge the role of Oak Ridge
National Laboratories in spurring the steady stream of innovation in East Tennessee, increasing both the
demand for and the value of IQ's services to local customers.
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The original founder, Mike Walker, had worked as a network engineer for other ISP's and large financial
institutions. These experiences had left him with an "I can do better" attitude as he often watched technical
purity take a back seat to the less-than-accurate "embellishments" in the latest article a manager had read in
an industry publication. His dream was to create a company that stood on technical merit above all else. The
business model was to attain stability by building customer loyalty through the reintroduction of the simple
principles of accountability, attentiveness, and value into the technical marketplace. Simply put, Walker
believed that customers would soon grow tired of the IT industry's running joke: "The difference between a
used car salesman and a computer salesman is that the used car salesman KNOWS when he's lying to you."
As customer relationships were developed over the years, various service bureau aspects of the business were
born out of customer needs including application hosting, outsourced technical management, data warehousing
services, network security services, and network architecture consulting. Customer trust was built by
remaining true to the founder's directives: IQ's customers knew that the solutions offered were the ones that
best served their needs rather than the ones that made the most short-term profit for IQ. Many customers even
came to think of IQ as an extension of their own IT department.
As Walker had predicted, IQ's commitment to its customers was rewarded as the infamous "dot com slash" came
and went taking local competitors with it, but leaving IQ moving into national markets.