10 years ago Facebook opened it’s massively popular service to anyone over 13 with an email address. Prior to that, you had to be in college, or select high schools in order to register and use the site.
10 years ago in March, Twitter launched explosive growth. Now boasting over 500 million users, Twitter was originally called just twttr as it was originally based on the concept of group SMS – influencing the 140 character limit still in place today.
10 years ago Microsoft released it’s cutting edge Vista operating system code-named Longhorn. Widely panned in years to come as a second failing similar to Windows ME – Vista went on to sell over 330 million copies worldwide and was widely pirated pushing it’s reach even wider.
10 years ago the Apple iPhone was still in development. Launched in June of 2007, the iPhone would go on to make Apple the most valuable company in the world* and revolutionize mobile computing.
I could go on with more fascinating historical tech moments, but I’ll pause for a moment to reflect on our business, and how it has changed and evolved over the last decade.
First, some things that are the same:
- We’re still small – we experimented with adding staff over the years but always found the simplicity of a co-proprietorship preferable.
- We still make our custom designs using the same software. While our style has evolved, our favorite tool (Adobe Fireworks) remains a favorite.
- Email remains a dominant communication medium. While all the growth has been in social media, and new mobile technologies, email remains the staple of business and is still growing.
- Word of mouth referral remains our top way of acquiring new work. Despite many online tools to send customers to our door, small-community word of mouth remains the best way for us to grow.
Some things that are different.
- Security has become a large aspect of our business, and increase our client’s businesses as well. Hacking, spamming and identity theft are big businesses, and no longer reserved just for “bored basement-dwelling geeks”.
- The tools and services available to clients have exploded. 10 years ago much of the “software” we deployed was custom built. We now have hosted, third party providers for almost any software or service that your business or website may need.
- Specialization in web development has continued. While we still remain a “one-stop shop” for our clients, the services we deploy are increasingly being separated into providers that specialize. From premium managed WordPress hosting, to enterprise email providers like Google Apps, it pays to work with companies that do one, or a few things well.
- Just like the general population, our use of mobile has exploded. Already somewhat mobile in 2006 with our laptops, smartphones, and tablets now allow us to work almost anywhere. In fact, I’m writing this using my Verizon hotspot, in northern Maine – something that wouldn’t have been possible 10 years ago due to the evolution of mobile networks.
To wrap things up (as they start the music) I just want to thank our family of clients who have supported Desiree and I for the last 10 years. This family has allowed us to beat the odds, and raise a small family of our own on Cape Cod – something we feel lucky and privileged to accomplish.
As we embark on our new venture, we continue to be flattered and floored by the generosity of our clients, friends, family, and community. Here’s to another 10!
* Google is currently competing (value fluctuates with stock price, currently ~$580 billion) for the “Most Valuable Company in the World” title. In 2006, it was Exxon Mobile, with Microsoft being the closest tech company at #3.