Wisconsin destroys a business

Even as our Croquet software was going open source and the company winding down, I haven’t been posting much. I’ve been distracted. Here’s one reason why.

This is a tale of a government that destroyed a business. My business, along with my wife who is the speaker in the video. Ours was just one of  hundreds of mom-and-pop early-education business targeted by the state, but this is specifically about what happened to us.

About Stearns

Howard Stearns works at High Fidelity, Inc., creating the metaverse. Mr. Stearns has a quarter century experience in systems engineering, applications consulting, and management of advanced software technologies. He was the technical lead of University of Wisconsin's Croquet project, an ambitious project convened by computing pioneer Alan Kay to transform collaboration through 3D graphics and real-time, persistent shared spaces. The CAD integration products Mr. Stearns created for expert system pioneer ICAD set the market standard through IPO and acquisition by Oracle. The embedded systems he wrote helped transform the industrial diamond market. In the early 2000s, Mr. Stearns was named Technology Strategist for Curl, the only startup founded by WWW pioneer Tim Berners-Lee. An expert on programming languages and operating systems, Mr. Stearns created the Eclipse commercial Common Lisp programming implementation. Mr. Stearns has two degrees from M.I.T., and has directed family businesses in early childhood education and publishing.


  1. When you first posted this, I was too overwhelmed to know what to say. I still am.

    A few months back, Vanity Fair did an article on Elizabeth Warren, and I learned something about her that surprised me. She started out as a Republican. She took a job that put her into the field looking for the people who were surely cheating us hard-working Americans. What she found were that most of the people she expected to find cheating and fleecing were struggling, hard-working, and needing help. I know that’s not any consolation, but I wish the people targeting the day cares would go out and meet the people who work there, and meet the families, and mostly just meet the children. It might change their minds.

  2. Thanks, so much, Peg. I appreciate the words you took the time to write, and those of others who have contacted us. We were particularly intrigued to hear about Elizabeth Warren, as Robin’s own political transitions are apparently somewhat parallel.

    Of course, this really doesn’t have to be, and in my mind, shouldn’t be, a politically divisive issue.

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