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Tough Money: Technology | EXAMPLES FROM LIFE

The Doctor Is In

Rick Alber, 44, Santa Monica

March 24, 1997

I'm one of the 10 million or so attorneys who passed the bar in the late '70s and went on to dreary service in a big law firm. I caught the computer bug while representing a few Silicon Valley tech companies, and that gradually took me out of law work and into marketing and software design. About three years ago, I discovered the World Wide Web, recognized its marketing potential and started looking around for content to put up there.

I'd always liked the offbeat humor of a radio program called "Ask Dr. Science." Dr. Science is a hilarious know-it-all, with "a master's degree in science!," created by the comedy group Duck's Breath Mystery Theatre. So I contacted the people who did the program and asked them to let me put together a Dr. Science Web site. They agreed, I set it up a year ago, and I've been having a ball ever since.

Visitors to the site (http://www.drscience.com) can read Dr. Science's question and answer for the day, search the archive of past questions and answers, ask Dr. Science a question (the sillier, the better), and subscribe to the mailing list to get the daily question and answer in their e-mail. They can also find out how to purchase a variety of Dr. Science products, all of which are shamelessly promoted via the Web site and the daily mailings.

The visitor response has been incredible. After only one year, we have 10,000 people on the mailing list and receive almost 100 questions each day. The critical response has been even more incredible. Along with such heavy hitters as the Discovery Channel, Netscape and Timothy Leary's Home Page, Dr. Science was named a People Magazine Online/Infi.net "Cool Site of the Year" [script category] for 1996.

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