So this little endeavor I started way back when turns 20 years old this year. Yep, Back40 is celebrating 20 in 2020. Kind of a catchy marketing phrase, no?
Back40 started at a desk in my den in Prague, Oklahoma. I was a displaced Yankee – how I ended up in Prague is a whole other story. The view from my desk looked out over my neighbor’s “back forty” acreage – thus the name, Back40.
Back then, I had one of those lime green iMacs and I accessed the web through dial-up. The websites I created were hosted on a Power Mac G4 that I co-located in Oklahoma City. Websites were coded by hand and Adobe GoLive. Art was created with Photoshop 5.0. Looking back, those were some pretty primitive tools – but they got the sites built and live on the web. And, truthfully, at the time – it all felt like cutting edge technology.
- The dotcom tech bubble bust and Y2K meltdown predictions were the big financial news (maybe not the best time to start a web business)
- Amazon had its sights set on becoming the “World’s Biggest Bookstore”
- A good digital camera cost around $1000
- Brad Pitt married Jennifer Aniston
- Most of my current Back40ers were in grade school
It was a good time to start a web development business because not every business had a website, and those that did, had sites that were pretty bad. My business plan was simple. I’d leave the house in the morning in search of businesses and organizations to help. And I would build websites at night. And that worked. I was a one-man show. The business started to grow.
Obviously 20 years later, Back40 is no longer a one-man show. We have a team of designers, developers, project managers, and support people working full-time out of our newly-remodeled Edmond studio, which definitely beats having 15 people work out of my den.
- The dotcom bubble burst and the internet survived, though many start-ups did not.
- Jeff Bezos overshot his online bookstore goal to become the wealthiest man in the world.
- Amazing digital cameras are now included with our phones.
- Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston are divorced.
- Many of my current Back40ers have children in grade school.
I’m looking forward to the next 20 years.