My name is Peter Roe, I am the owner of Meadowlark IT.
I just wanted to take some time to explain myself. As I move along in life & business, I have found myself always checking on the "About Us" pages of people's websites before I engage in business with them.
The About Us pages that always resonate with me are the ones that tell the story of the company's creation. So that is what I am going to attempt to do here.
Hope you don't think I am a total goof by the end,
It all started before I even really knew what a computer was, (not to say I am entirely sure what one is now). Some of the earliest memories I have are of taking apart electronics, like old laptops and tower computers. I just could not get over how the pieces inside were able to create what you saw on the screen. All these little bits on a green board. That was one of my favorite things to do, just take them apart and look at the little pieces, trying to guess what ones did what. My parents fondly called it "doing surgery"
That was all before I really knew what computers were even used for, my relationship at the time was mostly watching my dad use the one we had in the kitchen. It was an old E Machines tower with a matching CRT monitor. I did used to try and play some games on it, but it was not that powerful, so that often did not work very well. Instead of playing games, I would often just find myself going through settings and the windows menus, messing with things. I remember thinking the Nvidia settings menu was the coolest, the spinning logo that would change depending on what settings you applied. Or I would do things like reorganize all the desktop icons, add ones, remove ones, try to make it absolutely perfect. Change wallpapers, screensavers, settings of those. I do not know why I would spend hours doing this stuff. This was in about 2003-2004 so I would have been 6 or 7 years old.
Around that time I found the thing that I loved doing more then anything else on the computer, playing Neopets. Neopets was not like the other computer games, it was all browser based so almost any computer could run it smoothly, including my family's E Machine. This was the first time I started really trying to figure out computers. Because the game ran ok I was able to actually start doing things.
Now while Neopets was just a game, it was a browser game from the early 2000's and this made it basically a college level computer science course by today's standards. Back then things were just getting started, you needed to have Flash and Java installed and constantly updated, there were different options you had to pic for like very page to get it to run on your specific computer. You had to manually tell the web-server what size to serve you certain assets in.
Because of this raw early form of a browser game (that being said, Neopets was cutting edge for its time) if you wanted to play it you needed to figure all this corky stuff out. Moreover, if you knew how to get it to run, your friends at school were constantly in debt to you.
So, that is when I kind of figured out that I liked doing this, I remember the excitement people would have when I would fix the game, so they could play at recess. Or how they were awed by the HTML I had injected into my profile to make the background a different color than was available in the menu.
I will never forget Neopets.
After that, the next thing I can remember is my Dad's attempt at starting a security camera business. He had a few IP cameras that were around the house and was always messing with them and the little 10Mbps internet connection we had.
Around that same time, WiFi was becoming a thing. Oh boy, if you remember 2005 WiFi, it was as reliable as a paper umbrella. I remember getting an iPod around that time, having to try and use iTunes and copy protected DVDs. My dad had found a way to rip DVDs and load them onto the iPod. I quickly had him teach me, and would do that more than I would actually watch the movies. It was always just the feeling of achievement, of getting the computer to do something that was a little edgy and outside the normal operations.
Of course, at this point I need to thank my Dad, a 30 year embedded systems engineer for everyone to Hughes Aircraft to Locked Martin and currently Curtis Wright. He was always dug into computers and of course, like the kid I was, I wanted to be like him.
Fast-forward to 2012
My Dad started looking for contract work. He needed a website. I decided I was going to make it. So I allegedly pirated a copy of Adobe dream weaver and got to work. Copying and pasting HTML until I actually had a functional website with a menu bar and everything. It was crude 100% but it worked and it stayed up for like 5 years. Back when it was just HTML on a server, there was nothing really to break or get hacked.
That was not really even an achievement for me at this point. I had been bending computers to my will for this entire time. I was jailbreaking mine and my friend's iPhones, reinstalling laptop operating systems, upgrading components, messing with Ubuntu. Truly starting to go outside the normal use of a computer and into techie land.
I went through a major jailbreaking and rooting phone phase. I would do it for free for anyone who would let me. This was around 2012-13 the iPhone 4 and galaxy s3. I just loved it, getting custom apps running, upgrading androids to versions of android that were not publicly available yet.
The bleeding edge was where I wanted to be 24/7
That is where I stayed for all of highschool and college. Jailbreaking every phone I could find, reinstalling windows for people when it got bloated, allegedly pirating every app you could ever want, following insanely complicated readme files to get adobe photoshop for free. Just the works, I made some attempts to jailbreak my xbox so I could run torrented ISOs but quickly realized that Microsoft's DRM was way above my head.
Now I know a lot of those things are mostly worthless, but it was not even really about the result, like when I was 6 digging threw the settings of my parent's E Machine. It was about knowing I could do it, when you booted up that iPhone on the latest version of IOS and had Cydia sitting there, that was the take, just knowing I had followed a 15-step process correctly that could have broken a $600 phone. The look on my friend's faces when I had resurrected their bloated, dead windows laptop from the depths of 2013 manufacturer bloatware and browser spam.
Fast forward to 2018
I am graduating from Bucks County Community College. I am at a loss for what to do, should I saddle up with $50k in student loans to go to Drexel, should I just keep working at the Country Club.
What I decided to do was use my new degree in the purest way I could, start a business.
At the beginning my parents (and myself if I am honest) were nervous, my first ideas were not very good, a car detailing business, a custom jewelry business, and another I forgot.
But then, my Mom actually had an idea that, I thought, was good, a pet product, it was for litter boxes, there was nothing else like it on the market. I figured it was a good product, one of my professors always used to say "grandkids and pets, the market for products around those demographics never shrink".
So let's do it, I thought about it for a while, still working at Doylestown Country Club. Then one day after they had sent me on a literal 10 mile mower walk I decided that was it, I need to quit and build the rest of my life. That is what I told my boss, he was a great guy, offered me a raise to stay, but I said I need to go.
From there it was clear what I had to do, I needed capital to prototype the product. So, I looked into the backyard and saw my family's absolutely destroyed ski boat. It was as raunchy as they come, in a state where you would actually have to pay someone to take it away as trash. I don't know how I decided this was my diamond in the rough, but it became my obsession. For an entire summer, 3 months, every single day I worked on that thing. Using money from savings and some from my parents to bring the thing back to life, if I had to list all the parts it needed this already way too long story would be a full book.
Everything needed to be bleached and scrubbed, entire soft body panels rebuilt. Sections reupholstered. The engine was the same, after trying to rebuild the carb and failing, ordering an entirely new one, finding out the problem was a rusted one-way valve in the gas tank. Replacing the starter and battery terminals. Finally it was done.
I made a video, put it on Craigslist and sold it for $4500 in a month. That was it. That day, holding that money, I knew I was going to do it.
This is a big deal for a 21-year-old, having $4500 and instead of spending it on car parts, taking it and buying literal cardboard and stickers for a product that was just an idea his mother came up with. I didn't realize it at the time, but now I do, I do not really know why I was so obsessed with getting a business off the ground.
So, that's what I did, I spent all of it getting a product together, everything from camera equipment to actually redoing a room of our house to shoot pictures. Buying a small webserver to host the site for free. All the branding, stickers, setting up the LLC, (yes Meadowlark Marsh LLC was originally intended to be a pet products company).
Now do you see how I ended up here?
While launching this product, (that can still be found for sale on therudekitty.com) I realized just how critical computer, websites, email, network systems are to a business.
The big thing was the website, I was starting from scratch, this was nothing like the HTML site I had built for my dad, it was an ecommerce site with checkout, cart, etc. I was at a loss.
At one point I found WordPress. Now this was back in 2018 so there was no WordPress block editor, it was just a blogging platform. But people were raving about it. So I dug in and made a basic site and it seemed like something I could do
Then came the hosting, I was horrified of recuring fees at this point in my life, I just hated the idea of paying someone every month or else my life would stop working.
So I had the bright idea to build a web server. Ah that little black box, I will never forget it. Self-hosting WordPress is not a small feat. Battling the LAMP stack, having no real idea what any of the components were or how to put them together. If I am lying I'm dying, it took me 30 days straight, every single day to get it up and running, I must have reinstalled Ubuntu 15 times. But I got it, I had my little 4 core 4gb of ram NUC computer serving a copy of wordpress and I was off to create the site.
So after literally another 3 months of trying to create a functional good looking website that was done too. The product was done, I had pictures of it. I had figured out how much it would cost, how much I could make, and then... Nothing.
I didn't sell any for the next 6 months, not a single 1. During this time I was kind of goofing off, I had done what I set out to do, and back all the way to 2003, I was still just in that mindset of "well I did it and that is the fun part" even though the goal of a product is to, you know, SELL IT. I just kind of got tired of it.
So I went back and got a job as a groundskeeper again.
Fast Forward to 2020
I realized again, being a groundskeeper was not going to lead me anywhere good. So back to repeating the cycle again. This time I was going to be a website maker. For some reason, that was just what I liked. It was fun and impressive to me that I could create something that was online and everyone could see it.
So again, that is what I did, I created a website for selling websites, then created a few sites to show on that website as a portfolio.
And then... No one wanted my services, 6 more months of nothing. Toiling every day and making $0
But this time it was different, I was not going to give up. I had screwed around enough, and this was the thing. The one thing that threw out my entire life, I had never quit, tinkering with computers.
So I didn't quit. I just kept making and working on websites and computers.
Then the pandemic hit and I was fine, still living at home I was free to just keep toiling. All my friends had moved away so I was just alone working on things.
Fast forward to 2021
Something clicks and I start getting too much work to handle and even my pet product starts selling more then I can handle.
Fast forward to 2022
I am working every single day and actually getting paid, building my systems, refining my processes. Meeting so many great people life really starts getting fun.
So that's where I am as of now. I know you might think "oh my, this kid is a recipe for disaster, he has only been doing this for 3 years, no thank you" Well all I have to say is if you read this far then bless you, the internet does not typically like books, so you are in the minority. But I would also like you to know why I wrote this.
A few days ago, I woke up, and I almost had that work dread, like when you just think "God I don't want to do this anymore" but then I thought about what I had to do that day, for the first time in my life just thinking about what I had to do made that feeling go away. I really love what I have decided to do in life. Forget the money. It's more, it's doing the thing that I have never been able to stay away from and have come back to since I was 6 years old.
I will not quit; I will do whatever it takes to make you light up, like my friends at school did when I showed them a jailbroken iPhone. That is just my passion. Figuring out these damn computers and making them work for us.
That's it, have a pleasant day,