OIVillage.com is born!

One weekend while I was still in college I was hanging out with a friend of mine. He was browsing myspace on my computer and stumbled upon one of the many myspace groups that I belonged to. Next thing I hear is, “Hey man, all these people look like you!” When I looked at the screen I said, “that’s because they all have OI” “OI? Whats OI?” OI stands for Osteogenesis Imperfecta – a rare bone disorder that causes bones to fracture easily some times for no apparent reason. One of the common characteristics of folks with OI are similar facial features and blue sclera (which I have both). As my friend continued to browse he would ask me if I knew any of the people on the site. For the most part I didn’t know anyone on that site, except for maybe a few. This shocked my friend and he asked me, “Well, why don’t you know them?” My response was, “Well, its not like we all come from the same village!” And, then I thought, “but that would be cool!”

Years past and I graduated college with a degree in Political Science. While I looked for an avenue to start my career I began developing web sites for non-profits and small businesses. What started as a small part time way to make extra money, developed into a real business with clients from across the country. As time went on, more of my time was devoted to web development, I started to realize the amazing power of the web. A type of power that can transform individuals’ lives. For the first time I wasn’t reading how the internet was changing the world, I was experiencing it first hand!

One of the things that I realized is that the internet not only has the power to bring together lots of people. But it also has the amazing power to bring together groups of people that share a similar life experience but are geographically separated and isolated (like people with OI). Many times it is these types of connections that can be truly transformative.

As a web developer I am naturally creative and am always trying different things. So, when it came time for me to try my hand at developing a social networking portal it only seemed natural for me to develop a site that’s sole intention is to bring people with OI together.

While brainstorming I remembered the conversation I had with my friend in college. Instantly OIVillage was born!


  1. Joe,
    Nice work on OIVilliage. Just curious, did you program it or use software?

    I’m a fan of niche social networks. My new favorite is uPlej.com. You and your network can subscribe to give to your favorite charity. Everyone pays $4.95 a month and $4 goes to the nonprofit of your choice. However, anyone in your network automatically gives $1 to your cause along with the donation they give to the charity they pick.

    Check it out. From a marketers perspective – you have to love a subscription plan. Also, the SEO value (you can optimize your profile/URL, etc with “follow” links). Then there is the impact it can have on individual lives as many people give a little to help out.


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