My Brush With Internet Celebrity

Let me take you back to pre-historic times. Here’s my first blog post, August 20, 2001 at 4:51 in the afternoon:

This is the inaugural blogger post. I wonder if it'll work. I imagine it won't because the FTP permissions on the server won't let it upload to the HTMLdocs directory. But we'll see...

Actually, there were a few earlier than that, but that’s the first one I can find on I only bring this up to establish my bona fides; I was there at the (sorta) beginning.

In 2003, while reading a lot of blogs and trying to teach myself to use PHP and connect to a mysql database, I came across a short post at the blog of a particularly interesting guy:

I wish there were a product called "SideBlogger" that worked really easily with Blogger. All I would need to do is sign up, and then put a little code somewhere in my Blogger template. Then I could sign in to SideBlogger or click SideBlogThis! to post something to my sideblog. SideBlogging: wave of the future…

Hmmmmm. I emailed the guy. Said that I would build said product to give me a practical application for learning PHP and Javascript. He was game. So I started to code. And test. And curse a lot. He was the only tester I had and, really, the product development guy. Him: Could it do this? Me: Sure. Him: Could that be a user option? Me: Absolutely. I’d build it. He’d try it out. Eventually, it actually worked.

He was my first user. Then one or two of his friends. I started taking donations to pay for the server and bandwidth. At the peak we had a few thousand people happily posting short posts on the side of their main blogs. My own little web service. Good times.

But I had another job. I was managing a big corporate website. I had a team. Budgets. Meetings. Things got busy. It was tough to keep up with the bugs, feature requests and outright abuse of this little service. I had never thought of this as a start-up, because it really wasn't. It was a hobby. And I was having less and less fun with my hobby. So, I decided to let it go.I wound it down and sold the domain name for 500 bucks.

While this was going on, my email friend had moved to California to work at Blogger. Then Google bought them. Then he left Google to work on some cool stuff. That guy who wrote that post all those years ago? @biz. Maybe you've heard of him?