StudentsHelp.org Featured in Los Altos Town Crier
Article posted below
Updated: Thursday, January 27, 2000 09:48 AM
solve computer woes - free of charge
you give that malfunctioning computer a swift kick in the screen
and a blow to its drive, you might want to contact Los Altos
Hills residents Neilesh Patel and Dan Brown.
two St. Francis High School seniors have been helping people
get out of computer glitches since last summer when they launched
StudentsHelp.org Consulting, an online, for-free computer assistance
teens respond to about 300 e-mail questions a week regarding
computer technical problems - including finding lost files,
restarting crashed hard drives, downloading files and helping
consumers choose a new computer, Patel said.
the range of questions, Patel said the two have yet to receive
a problem that they couldn't solve.
we don't get the problem on the first shot, but we give as many
options as we can. That always gets us closer to figuring out
what's wrong," he said.
said Patel and he realized there was a huge void for free computer
help for the average computer user last year while considering
starting a for-profit consulting business.
wasn't anything out there," Brown said. "People were
getting charged $30 at Fry's just for someone to open and look
at their computer for one thing that we could fix in two minutes."
the two wanted to do something with the computer knowledge that
they had gained during summer internships at NASA and Modus
Media International, and they weren't in need of money, they
launched the for-free service.
had been our hobby for about 10 years, and we wanted to continue
our interest in computers somehow," Patel said. "We're
really in it to get more experience and to see how a small company
is run." They initially started out doing general consulting,
but their business quickly mushroomed. The two 17-year-olds
have added building computers and Web sites for nonprofit groups
in the area to their list of business operations. They provide
similar services to for-profit groups for a $100 fee. Their
Web site has grown, too, to include Y2K solutions and links
to other sites with computer information.
than 6,100 people have accessed the site since December. The
staff now includes nine volunteers who offer their expertise
from sites throughout the United States.
said the additional help has enabled them to respond to e-mails
within 24 hours.
said he and Brown check on their e-mail about three times a
day and divvy it out to volunteers who specialize in specific
computer problems. They spend about 10 hours a week responding,
Brown said. Brown said the business took off so fast, that he
never knew what to expect.
surprised me a lot how seriously we come across, especially
in this area," he said.
two recently developed a Web site with live footage of the Cannes
Film Festival for a nonprofit group in San Jose. They have also
been asked to develop a Web site for an art fund-raising event
students plan to study engineering or computer science. Both
said they hope to continue operating their service throughout
you have technical questions or want more information about
StudentsHelp.org, go to www.studentshelp.org
or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Copyright 1999. Select Communications Inc., Los Altos, California.
All rights reserved.
Republished with permission of the Los
Altos Town Crier.