I guess you could say I started early in terms of the Internet.
1998 was the year we started thinking about the creation of Optix Solutions , at its inception, a bog standard, bedroom web design company. In 1999 it became a reality. Let me just position that for you a second. Google was barely known back then. Alta Vista, Yahoo and Lycos ruled the roost. Ebay was in a garage somewhere while QXL was the site we turned to for auctions. Facebook launched in 2004 a whole five years after I started and Twitter has only been around for half the lifetime of my company! If you wanted a world that moved quickly, you need look no further.
So in 2018 I’ll have done 20 years in the game. Two. Zero. I mean, seriously, what happened there?
So what’s been so special about spending that time in the game? What benefits does that afford me and those around me? I guess its experience and knowledge. The ability to say ‘you were there when…’, ‘you remember how we got over that by….’. The ability to pass on the knowledge you’ve picked up along the way.
I remember so vividly when boo.com went bust because they spent too much money on marketing as well as doing that crazy thing – trying to sell clothes online (obviously it would never catch on!). I remember when ASOS.com was called As Seen on Screen and was completely based on what celebs were wearing that week. I remember when my local shop had Freeserve disks piled high on the counter giving you a whopping 500 hours of internet for free! I remember the informative years of ecommerce when people actually ‘looked out’ for the padlock at the bottom of the browser. Ahhhh the good ‘ole days. Yes Mum it really is safe to put your credit card into the internet 🙂
Everyday I find myself thinking back and about how valuable these experiences are. I just couldn’t have bought them. Its time now to ensure they don’t become lost in the dusty relics of the computer world, with floppy disks and dare I say it, Internet chat rooms (yes I really did spend hours in those).
The young guys I employ today are the ones keeping me on my toes and I don’t think I’ve ever been so excited. Unwritten is a great example of how they roll. They are passionate, driven and exceptionally focused on doing an awesome job for our clients. They may not remember Netscape Navigator or even (scarily) a world without the internet but they are excitable, creative and innovative and that will get them far.
So whats the takeaway here? I mean, I always have a takeaway right? I don’t know to be honest, I’m riffing. I guess theres a place for all of us to learn from each other and enjoy the amazing tool the internet has become. Kids, talk to the people that saw the birth of this thing you grew up with and learn from their past experiences/mistakes. You Old Dogs (myself included), spend time with those who didn’t know a world existed without it and remind them how good they have it occasionally. 😉
I’m off to play Ghouls and Ghosts by loading a tape into my Amstrad 64. Shame I’ll have to wait 10 mins to reboot every-time I die. Oh wait, its 2015!
Alastair Banks is a Director of Optix Solutions and can be found over on Twitter at: @banksy6 on Twitter