Do you guys mind if I brag about something? #projects
I have mentioned at the past several meetings that technical writing wasn't really working out for me. I could find projects and I could even do them successfully - meaning that the customer liked the end results, but I was not able to find a way to do them _profitably_. I bid them too low and worked so long that on some projects I was probably working below minimum wage. For that reason, I decided to try to get some training in database management and actually got some training funds to pay for a tutor on the subject. This got delayed several times, and recruiting the right person proved to be more of a challenge than I thought it would be. I did find someone really good though and if finally seems to be moving forward. I can't say who this person is just yet because he is in a highly visible job with a government agency and hasn't told anyone that he will be quitting that job soon to start his own business.
I wanted to get a little practice working with data before this starts though - sort of like stretching before you play a volley ball game or something, and found this page on the City of San Diego website. It has two CSV (comma separated values) files that contain information about all the business license holders in San Diego. Without using code and instead just hacking at some open source tools I was able to put together a rather simple directory of all the business license holders in San Diego. This is not yet complete.. It is organized by NAICS (North American Industrial Classification System) codes. That is a six level structure, and after I got the 56,000 records uploaded (not a small task with a dog computer) I started organizing the categories by hand and as you can see I sort of petered out and didn't finish. Since I will likely have to tear this down and start over I thought I would show it to you in the current form - it is at this link:
It does work - mostly. I tried it by looking for "dentists" in my zip code - 92109 - and found a neighbor whose apartment is just 20 feet from mine. She has a dental hygienist practice that she administers out of her apartment. That brings up a question though - I am wondering how many of you are licensed with the City of San Diego. Full disclosure - I am not - mostly because I see no real advantage to it so why pay money and get nothing in return? Apparently the rocket scientists in the City of San Diego have decided to call this "a tax" rather than a license - probably because they wanted to emphasize that this is legally required. In the "carrot and stick" analogy that is a "stick" - i.e. "you might get in trouble if you don't do this". I would rather they did this with a carrot - something like this directory where everyone can register but people who do it "by the book" and get the license get top billing. I haven't spoken with any at the city about this idea yet.
What do you guys think? Do you do everything "by the book" and have your city business license and county fictitious name statements filings completed, or are you like me and that is one of those "one of these days" things?