Taking Care Of Everything Online

Linda Dela Cruz
Wednesday - November 12, 2008
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LavaNet’s Pali Kaaihue

A Star Wars Darth Vader in fierce black samurai regalia is standing in LavaNet owner Pali Kaaihue’s office. The action figure represents technology of the future that is steeped in ancient traditions, and that’s something that LavaNet does in many ways.

“I created the tagline ‘Everything online,’” explains Kaaihue. “We do anything and everything with being online: web design, streaming audio and video.”

The company offers network design, where they can hook up two computers in a private home or 2,000 computers at a business. There’s security, disaster recovery and virtual IT (information technology) services. Another popular service is colocation, where customers are connected to LavaNet’s Internet and get the security monitoring and maintenance of LavaNet.

Thousands of people have viewed its streaming video for the Slack Key Festivals and the Pakele Live series of Hawaiian Music concerts. LavaNet’s ability to create the mauitoday.tv site snowballed into the company creating its own television series called Doko Ga TV. Kaaihue, a 1989 Maryknoll grad, thought it would be a fantastic idea to have an updated version of the Japanese magazine TV show he grew up watching called Shoko Ga Shiritai. The hosts of the show, Kaaiahue and Sachiko Uchida, do interviews featuring the celebrities, food, culture and fun things for viewers in Hawaii and in Japan. The show is on OC16 at 7 p.m. Mondays, and will be aired on other outlets as well.

Before Kaaihue owned LavaNet he could play a few computer games, but that’s about it. As a musician - he’s the leader of the Hawaiiian music group PALI - he mastered drums, bass, piano and guitar. He once owned a Hawaiian music kiosk at Aloha Tower, and traveled Japan as a musician. When he returned from Japan, he heard from his voice coach about a LavaNet customer-service job opening. LavaNet started in 1994, and Kaaihue joined it in 1996.

“I got yelled at on the first day on the job because I didn’t know you were supposed to shut down Windows 3.1,” he recalls. “I just pressed the button. Over time, I’ve learned to build a server and a computer.”

In 2005, the company was approached by a large Internet provider that wanted to purchase it and the deal didn’t go through.

That’s when Kaaihue sold his Hawaii Kai home and took out a loan to buy the business in 2006.

“One of the things we wanted to do is to offer things the national companies are offering,” explains Kaaihue. “We upgraded the e-mail system and various systems within. We are on the same playing field as everyone else.”

He mentions one challenge is not being able to do everything the customers want.

“We are more than happy to give a referral if it’s something we can’t do,” he says. “We live on a small island, and it is best to find ways to work with people.”

Projects include making an Office of Hawaiian Affairs Internet television channel, creating the home page for Yahoo of Japan and landing an account with SoftBank, a top communication company in Japan. One of the firm’s goals for the future is to provide a training academy for Native Hawaiians and Polynesians so they can get real-world experience and someday intern with the company.

And although it doesn’t sound like something Darth Vader would go for, Kaaihue looks forward to LavaNet providing video centers for the upcoming 2010 Healing Our Spirit Worldwide conference in Honolulu.

LavaNet offices are located at 733 Bishop St., Suite 1170. For more information, call 545-5282, or log onto www.lava.net.

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