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20 Years Ago

PublishedMar 21, 2022
Reading Time2m 20s
Ripcord Design website in 2002
Kelly Clarkson winning the first American Idol in 2002

A Milestone

Ripcord Design was born twenty years ago today. I took the plunge – leaving the stability of an engineering career behind – and it turned out to be perhaps the best decision I've ever made.

Changing life's direction at age 30 was risky, actually foolish considering I did it without a plan. That made things extra tough, and I made endless mistakes (business and personally) early on. I came close to having to give it up just a few years in. But thanks to encouragement and support from family and friends I was able to power through and make it a success.

Even through those difficult early years, Ripcord has been a total dream job. Twenty years later I still wake up every morning excited about getting to work.

What was the world like back in 2002?

The world – and the web – were very different in 2002. To be honest, things weren't great. The attacks of 9/11 were still very fresh, having happened just months prior. And economically we were still finding bottom after the burst of the dot-com bubble . But the world wide web remained a very exciting new place with unlimited opportunity.

Graph of the dot-com stock market crash

Here's what the world looked like back then...

Yahoo was really the only search engine, and it looked like this.

Yahoo search engine in 2002

If you had a cellphone, it looked like this.

Nokia phone from 2002

Amazon looked like this. You bought all your CDs and DVDs here.

Amazon website from 2002

Unless you had one of these cool new things.

Apple iPod from 2002

You probably listened to this a few thousand times.

Vanessa Carlton album cover

Or maybe you were off in your own world.

The Sims game from 2002

Or playing this new thing The Rock and Bill Gates were selling.

Xbox announcement event with Bill Gates and The Rock from 2002

Maybe you were voting for Kelly on the first American Idol.

Kelly Clarkson winning American Idol in 2002

Or Elisabeth on Survivor.

Elisabeth on Survivor 2002

Unless you were busy following this breakup.

Justin Timberlake and Brittany Spears

Or any of this craziness...

Anna Nicole Smith Show graphic Michael Jackson dangling baby over balcony in 2002 Newspaper showing headline of Enron convictions in 2002

Or this sexiness.

People Magazine cover with Ben Affleck Sexiest Man Alive 2002

Maybe sports captured your attention.

Luge at 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Olympics

Perhaps you caught U2 play halftime at the Superbowl.

U2 playing halftime at the Superbowl in 2002

Where a couple of no-name underdogs won.

Tom Brady and Bill Belichick celebrating first superbowl win in 2002

But my mind was on other things. So I took a trip to my local computer store.

CompUSA store from the 90's

And put $500 of software boxes in a physical shopping cart.

Collage of design software from 2002

And loaded it up on my computer.

Dell computer from 2002

And I built Ripcord's first website.

Ripcord Design website from 2002

And started building a few websites for clients...

website thumbnail website thumbnail website thumbnail

And I got more clients. So I kept going...

website thumbnails website thumbnails

And kept going as the years rolled on...

website thumbnails website thumbnails website thumbnails

And kept going for 20 years.

website thumbnails

By now there are too many to count. In the hundreds for sure.

Still loving it after 20 years

I'm proud of every website I've ever built. I put my best into all of them, and I learned from each one. One of the reasons I wake up smiling thinking about work every day is because I love learning and improving. And this 'job' lets me improve with each website I build. I'm still mastering some basics even 20 years later. There isn't a week that goes by where I don't learn some new technique or way of running my business better.

Many more to come

20 years is just a milestone. I will be continuing with this for at least another decade, maybe two. And I'll always be up for doing something computer-design related for as long as I can imagine. I've been making stuff with computers since I was 8, so it's with me for life at this point.

To my clients

Thank you for trusting me with your business. It's humbling to be trusted with the reputation and brand of another small business or even someone's life work. I've worked with so many small companies that have put everything into their business. It's one of the big reasons I love doing this – being able to help clients get their fair share of business online, especially if they're the little guy on the block. I love being their secret weapon.