So much has changed in the last decade or so that it’s good to look back at the turning points in hopes of being at the cusp of the next one.
I’d be interested to hear what you think of my 8 moments. Any of them the same as yours? What are some your most memorable moments?
1992: Discovering Photoshop
I was working for a newspaper in London and I remember someone showing me this photo-editing software I’d heard so much about. I remember getting the eraser tool and rubbing out a house on a black-and-white photo. I was hooked.
Many hours and many sore backs later, I still use it everyday.
1995-6: Discovering the Internet
I’ve no idea when Sir Tim Berners-Lee actually invented it but the internet started for people like me in the mid-nineties. We learned about it through the medium of newspapers. How quaint!
There then followed hours of waiting for HTML pages to download through a dialup modem.
1997: Discovering how it would change the world
So, you’ve got access to the world’s knowledge at the touch of a button. What do you do with it? Er, um.
I’ve got to explain a bit here. I’m a guitarist. I like to play other people’s songs. My pre-internet options for learning a song were:
- sit inches in front the TV screen desperately trying to see the chords my heroes were playing
- spend ages with a tape or a record and laboriously try to work out how to play a song by stop-starting and trial and error. I haven’t got perfect pitch so, believe me, this would take ages.
- give up and buy the very expensive sheet music.
Then one day, a year after I’d bought my dial-up modem, I thought, hey I wonder if I could find out chords to all those impossible to learn songs online? Yes, I could. Hours and hours of annoying the neighbors with my terrible renditions of Life On Mars and Try A Little Tenderness ensued.
But I was actually learning a very different tune – how the internet would change everything I’d ever known before. Whole industries would die, eons of time would be saved, inspiration was available for free. The world would never be the same again.
2001: Discovering user generated content
As the new millennia came, the internet matured. On September 11th, 2001 I learned of the events by watching TV, But I found myself gravitating towards my computer to find out what people were saying about them.
2005: Discovering WordPress
In 2005, I’d just about managed to set up a 5-page static HTML site when a friend of mine casually recommended that I install this stupid blogging software with an even stupider name. I did it just to keep him quiet.
It didn’t impress me much at first – after finally setting it up I was confronted with this page saying “Hello World!”, I then clicked on “Hello World!” and it took me to another, very similar page with another “Hello World!”
I didn’t much like the idea of editing PHP files to change the design. But, when I saw “header.php”, “footer.php”, etc., in the theme and something clicked. And, then I noticed a fledging blog was attracting way more visitors than my 5-page static HTML site. I was hooked. Still am.
2008: Discovering a new breed of rockstar
By 2008, I’d been blogging for a few years and had already set up my company. I was enamoured of the WordPress story. People like Matt Mullenweg, Tim Ferriss and Seth Godin were my new heroes.
But my new heroes aren’t the same as the music icons of the last century. They may be into free love and making the world a better place but they also read all their emails and, in most cases, answer them too. I wrote the above flippant remark to Matt Mullenweg thinking he’d have a secretary that screened his mail – I was shocked when he replied.
2008-11: Discovering mobile internet
OK. Time to cheat. This isn’t a moment and it’s not in front of a computer. But here are the “wow” instances:
- Getting my first wireless router and working on the laptop in the garden
- Replying to an email with a smartphone
- Someone showing me Google Maps on the iPhone (you can’t do that now but you know what I mean )
- The ability to listen and read from the world’s best business mentors when and where I feel like it
- Cloud life – running my business from a beach cafe in Brazil
2013: Discovering social will be more important than search
I’d like to conclude my 8 earth-shattering moments with the one that will change the world the most – the future of search.
One of my most memorable moments in front of a computer certainly could have been “discovering Google”. Typing a question into a search engine and getting a correct answer – or millions of answers – was certainly amazing.
But my 8th most memorable moment came the other day when I realised you don’t need Google. More of my business is actually coming from Facebook, Twitter and other networks than organic search nowadays. That’s huge.
So, if the last few years in front of a computer (OK, let’s say “device”) has been a rollercoaster ride, then we’re going to be blown away in the next few years. Search and “googling” will be unrecognisable in a few years time.
What do you think?
What do you think of my 8 moments? Do you have similar ones? I’d love to hear about yours.