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iNeverKnewThat
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In 1998, I had a vision to design an informative website where people of all ages could visit and absorb facts, figures, and quotes in a fun and memorable way.  Simply written, I wanted to offer a place where everyone could “put a smile on their brain.”  My thought was, and remains, that people want to be just a little bit smarter but taking the time or making the effort is a stumbling block for most.  Consider the times have you been asked a question that you helplessly could not answer and then felt foolish when someone else answered the same question.  Now imagine how many times you have yearned to pass along something interesting to a friend or group.  Whether at the dinner table, in school, in an interview, at a ball game, in the office, writing email, anywhere - if you could just offer an interesting “tidbit” of knowledge to project an intelligent image of yourself this would be an instant confidence builder. 

Moving forward ten years, I was finally ready to launch the tools that allow anyone to easily attain and share knowledge, in a fun and simple way, with friends and family.  Don’t read me wrong, it didn’t take ten years to put the site together although sometimes it felt that way.  While occasionally adding to my vision of the site, I was busy in the residential mortgage industry where I have spent most of my adult career.  I thoroughly enjoy the mortgage industry where I have had the good fortune of providing mortgages for such luminaries as former White House Chief of Staff, Andrew Card, Congressman Charles Wilson, of ‘Charlie Wilson’s War’ fame, and the late Supreme Court Chief Justice William Rehnquist.  Writer’s side note:  Where a person obtains their mortgage is of public record, for me, anything else is loan officer/client privilege. 

A Republican, a Democrat and a member of the Supreme Court, I like the balance of those loan applications because I like people.  It baffles me how, in the United States with approximately 300 million people, we can narrow down our choices for our country’s leader to two parties.  Next time you visit your favorite ice cream shop imagine the person behind the counter telling you there are only two choices, strawberry or vanilla.  What, no rocky road?

When I took the loan application for Andy Card it was actually in the White House while he was serving as Assistant Chief of Staff under then Chief of Staff John Sununu in the first George Bush administration.  After our lunch and meeting Andy gave me a pair of Presidential cufflinks that I’ve kept to this day.

George W. Veitch on right with unknown soldier - March 1862Keeping things is one of my passions – from ticket stubs to letters to family heirlooms - I probably have way too many items.  One of the reasons why I’m a collector is that I come from a family that has resided in the Arlington, Virginia area for nearly 300 years.  Captain James Robertson, my ninth generation paternal grandfather, arrived in the area in 1724, before George Washington was even born.  Over one hundred years later my great, great grandfather George W. Veitch came home from fighting in the Civil War and built his home in what would later be named Arlington.                         

My great, great, great grandfather, Randolph Birch, owned a farm, where the Iwo Jima Memorial stands today, which was adjacent to Robert E. Lee’s estate.  As the family story has been handed down, Birch was standing near his property fence when General Lee rode up and told him, “Birch, I’ve decided to fight for ol’ Virginia.”

In the 20th Century we had a three generation lineage of judges, including my father, his father, and his father’s father.  Having a strong interest in history was a given for me because growing up in Virginia it’s all around you.  Writer’s side note:  Once while driving through the great state of North Carolina, I stopped at an antique shop and found an old ‘Thompson’s Dairy, Alexandria, Virginia’ milk box exactly like the one we kept on our porch at home for the milkman to use.  It didn’t seem right for that old milk box to be sitting in North Carolina so I paid for it and brought it home.

As for establishing iNeverKnewThat.com, I purchased the domain name early on because, frankly, the name is the website.  My dream was to provide a pleasantly enjoyable site for people of all ages to visit everyday, smile, and exit feeling smarter and better about their selves.  It’s not a website to enter and have to ask questions of, although some of those sites are brilliant, and it’s not a website to visit and see one more person jumping off the roof of his home onto a ping-pong table.  Writer’s side note – I suffered through enough injuries playing sports so I don’t need to watch those guys get injured;  these days it’s about knowledge for me.  iNever is a site filled with content from hundreds of newspaper and magazine articles, books, websites, and television programs that were scoured to find and provide fun for you to become smarter with minimal effort.  Think of iNeverKnewThat.com as your personal DVR that you set to record only the bits of knowledge you want to read and share.  And because learning is never ending and should be exercised everyday there are more i-bits being added daily.

Wholesome knowledge is what iNever is about.  A site where you can visit and read informative bits of knowledge, a.k.a. i-bits, about nearly anything you can imagine.  The i-bits are written to be quick reads, easy to understand, and passed along to others by our viewers.  They are divided into various categories covering just about everything; so, for example, if you enjoy the kitchen there’s a Food category, if you like football there’s a Sports category, if you like visiting different places there’s a Places and Geography category.  There are many categories and there is unlimited content for the categories.  There is even a category of just Quotes which I borrow from regularly when I have to give a presentation or a toast.

From the i-bits came the idea of having video bits or v-bits.  As you peruse through the i-bits you will occasionally come across a v-bit that corresponds with an i-bit.  You can click on and a video clip provides further enhancement to your learning experience.  The v-bits will be an interactive tool with our members where they can send us their own short video that correlates with an i-bit.  For example, let’s imagine one of our members just visited Disney World and they have a video clip from their experience and want to share it with other site viewers.  You can email it to us with one of your own researched i-bits or we may attach your video to an already existing Disney i-bit.

To take “i-bitting” one step further you will also find guest bits or, you guessed it, g-bits.  The g-bits are short, simple interviews with people who know the topic.  You’ll view one or two minute discussions that will give you extra knowledge on your favorite topics.  Example: should someone buy a whole life or term life insurance policy?  Click on the g-bit and hear the answer from an expert. 

Writing as someone who personally experienced a wonderful childhood, teen years, and right up to today, I feel a responsibility to provide others of all ages an opportunity to break from the on-line conformists and have a simple avenue to enhance their knowledge, self-esteem, and well being.  The content is limitless so hopefully the idea will be a success.

Now go get i-bit and “put a smile on your brain.”

Final writer’s note – My web design and development team at Tarcom Internet Solutions, Inc. (www.tarcomis.com) helped build this site in order for viewers to find fun i-bits and email them to friends and family; I must add, it’s quite addicting.

 

Enjoy,

Johnathan S. Thomas

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