The Pittsburgh Technology Council’s membership spans every nook and cranny of the tech ecosystem. Member company PickleShark is a perfect example of entrepreneurship and technology colliding in a spectacular fashion. We talked to founder Christopher Bowser about the company and his entrepreneurial journey. Here’s what he had to say:
Pittsburgh Technology Council: So what’s the down low with PickleShark?
Christopher Bowser: PickleShark™ was launched in early 2017, as a need to provide affordable web hosting and domain name registration for personal, small businesses, non-profits, startups, and bloggers.
PickleShark.com is designed to be an easy, stress-free experience especially for those new to website creation and hosting. We have created a platform with completely intuitive tools that anyone can confidently use regardless of their tech smarts. On top of that, we have a 24/7 support system and we stand by our customers every step of the way. Everyone needs a website and we want to empower you to be successful.
PTC: Is there a story behind the name?
Bowser: For whatever reason, me and my close-group of highly-creative friends, while attending art school, called ourselves, “The Super-Duper Pickle Sharks.” The name is in honor of our very special group and our friendships that have lasted over 27 years. The logo was also designed by my good friend and fellow Super-Duper Pickle Shark, Cheryl Black.
PTC: You’ve got a lot going on under one roof. Tell us more about the travel services that you offer?
Bowser: My wife and I are Disney/family vacation planners/travel agents with Starstuff Travel by Chris and Lauren (StarstuffTravelByChrisAndLauren.com). We specialize in Walt Disney World vacations, but we can send folks anywhere. Our concierge planning services are free and you would pay the same amount if you booked the trip yourself. For Disney, we’ll handle all of your Fastpass reservations, dining reservations, and even provide you with a detailed daily itinerary tailored to your family.
PTC: It’s almost summer. What are the common mistakes people make when planning travel?
Bowser: The number one mistake is not using a travel agent. It doesn’t cost you anything extra, plus it saves you time on research. I had a friend that booked a trip on their own. They spent a long time on hold, got disconnected, put on hold again, and could not contact the same person that was helping them. They had to go through the process all over again. A travel agent will help you every step along the way so you are not wasting time.
The most common mistake for Disney is not planning. If you’ve never been, or have not gone in several years, it can be overwhelming. Walt Disney World is not your typical theme park where you can just go, ride the rides you want, and expect to eat at restaurants without making reservations. Some do not understand how to get around and do not understand how FastPasses and the dining plan works. They end up unnecessarily waiting in long lines, getting frustrated, being disappointed, and generally having a rotten time. All this will ruin your dream vacation. However, we remove the stress of planning and provide our tips, tricks, and suggestions to make your trip awesome.
Another mistake is not doing research and strictly looking for the best deal. Those deals are sometimes too good to be true. We had a friend that found a great deal on a trip to Paris. However, we discovered that the hotel was in an unsafe location. My wife lived in France for a while and knew the area and its reputation and she advised them of a better option. A travel agent will get rid of the hassle and send you to the best hotel for your particular situation.
PTC: What’s it like building your business in Pittsburgh?
Bowser: It’s been mostly “word-of-mouth.” We get a lot of referrals from family and friends. We also go to local vendor shows to meet face-to-face with potential clients.