Pete Claar, Founder
Since the late 70s, when his father brought home a Texas Instruments Silent 700
terminal for his
kids to play with,
Pete Claar has been hooked on computers and computer science. At age 12, Pete and his brother mowed neigborhood lawns in order to save up enough money to purchase half
of a Model I Radio Shack TRS-80
for $599. (Pete's parents chipped in money for the other half.) Pete and his brother spent countless hours
with the TRS-80, learning programming and experiencing the magic of computing.
Pete went on to graduate from the University of California with a BS in Computer Science. After graduation, Pete moved to Seattle Washington as a software engineer for Nordstrom Inc.
In 1991, Pete coded the company's first client/server GUI application, Merchandise Check Express (MCE), using the just-released Microsoft Visual Basic 1.0.
Nordstrom did not have an inventory system at the time, so sales personnel had to spend valuable time calling other stores to find merchandise for customers.
MCE was a big hit with Nordstrom sales associates, who used the system's touch-screen to place requests for merchandise to other stores automatically.
The next step for Nordstrom was to develop a perpetual inventory system, and Pete was assigned the task of coding the client interface for a sales analysis tool for buyers called SKU Sales. Many buyers had never used
a personal computer before, so making the interface intuitive was a fundamental design goal. The system was built on Windows 3.0 clients and pulled data from servers running Windows NT and SQL Server NT, both of which were still in beta at the time.
In fact, this system was one of the first corporate deployments of Windows NT worldwide.
In 1995, Pete left Nordstrom to help start up a new internet venture called the OutPost Network. The main business of OutPost was to send real greeting cards and letters with the ease of sending an email.
The website was launched in 1995, just after Netscape was founded, with the thinking that hundreds of orders would be received on the first day. On that day we received 3 orders, one of which was placed by Pete to ensure that the system
While the business did continue to grow, Pete and his cohorts devised a new way to drive business to the OutPost Network site: the virtual outlet. Using a VO, a site that would not normally complete sales would be able
to add a co-branded shopping cart into the site's structure with minimal effort. This allowed the OutPost Network to build traffic in a then-unique way: one could go to a white pages website to find an address of someone, click on
a link to send that person a card or letter, type the letter and send it, all from the white pages site. The order was fulfilled by OutPost. This mechanism, while common today, was unique at the time and granted patent number
. This technology was
adopted by a number of partners, and OutPost Network soon had partnerships will all the major white pages players online. InfoSpace acquired the OutPost Network in 1998.
Pete continued work at InfoSpace as a senior software engineer until 1999. He then took a few years off, during which time he traveled the world and married.
He founded Claarware in 2006 in order to start SchoolDigger.com
With the exception of some of the graphic design, all the work on SchoolDigger.com is done by Pete, including coding, database, marketing, customer service, and SEO.
Pete lives in Lake Forest Park, Washington with his wife and two children.