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A little help after the fire

Posted by    |   October 1st, 2010   |   No Comments

Before becoming a web entrepreneur, I was a journalist – a newspaper reporter for papers in Detroit, Boulder, Duluth and Washington DC. In those days, I often felt the pleasure of making a difference in the world. I’d write a feature on a non-profit that would result in tons of donations. I’d do a piece that exposed wrongdoing in local government.

But in my 11-plus years in the web world, those feel-good experiences are fewer and further between.

Yesterday, however, I had one of those moments.

I got a call from a former client whom I hadn’t heard from since 2004. His house was one of the 166 homes that burned during the Fourmile Canyon Fire in the foothills west of Boulder in September. It was the worst wildfire in Colorado history.

My former client, Yates Lansing, is a sculptor who not only lost his home in the fire. He lost his studio. He lost his artwork. And he lost his computer, which contained what he thought were the only records of the sculptures he’d created over the past three decades.

When he called me, he said he knew it was a long-shot, but he was hoping that somewhere Insight Designs might have an old copy of his website, which contained images of hundreds of pieces of his work.

In less than an hour, we were able to locate the 2004 version of his website in our archives. By this morning, we had his website restored at We also added a new photo gallery called After the Fire that contains powerful images taken of the scorched sculpture garden surrounding the bare remains of what was once his glorious mountain home.

Yates was thrilled and incredibly grateful that we found the old files. It wasn’t much, but it was something. And for someone who’s lost just about everything, something can mean a whole lot.

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