When ServInt was founded in 1995, there were less than 18,000 dotcoms in the world.
That fact, according to an article on CNN.com yesterday, is pretty jarring when you think about it. It truly emphasizes just how much of a frontier the Internet was for entrepreneurs. How so many companies, in the shadow of the giants (at the time) at Netscape, AOL, and others, got started by refusing to believe that innovation was purely a numbers game.
Nearly everyday there are seismic shifts in how we do business online. While the Internet certainly shrunk our world by opening up new, relatively inexpensive lines of communication internationally, it arguably also did the opposite in many ways. The Internet expanded, exponentially, the size and scope of the planet from an intellectual and communicative standpoint. No longer were we limited by continents and language, we were free to do and say as we pleased in a new network of ideas. New markets sparked by young ambition sprang out of tiny packets of 1’s and 0’s traveling at the speed of light. Borders became more and more irrelevant and a new kind of global technologically-centered culture began to flourish.
Yesterday, the dotcom Top Level Domain turned 25 years old. ServInt also recently completed our 10,000th turn-up. These are two very different events with very different scopes, of course, but they’re noteworthy for the exact same reasons.
I personally sometimes find it odd to think that we still pay attention to events such as Internet anniversaries. However, despite their very old-world, pre-web genesis, anniversaries help us gain a concept of how far we’ve come. They’re a mile-marker on the highway, a notch on the door sill. Seemingly arbitrary marks that somehow still tell a story about a creation so expansive and fluid that it almost makes the idea of ‘age’ and ‘progression’ seem, well, obsolete.
The ‘dotcom’ moniker abstracted commerce in modern economics. It enabled the creation of incredibly powerful and lucrative technologies and services that had no physical presence. It abstracted so much of what we do on a day to day basis that industries were created to simplify them.
The success of ServInt, represented by our 10,000th turn-up, isn’t the biggest bit of news in the world today. However, it is a testament to the power of ‘dotcom’. Those four characters at the end of most URLs have done more to change the face of the planet in the past 25 years than just about any other technological achievement before it. Our 10,000th turn-up symbolizes the trust and dedication our customers have in who we are. It shows our customers believe in what we do, and it underscores our own commitment to constantly better ourselves as we grow with you, the budding Internet entrepreneur.
However, the number ‘10,000’ is also misleading. Take our VPS line for example. Well before we reached VPS number 1, we had already turned up thousands of clients the old-fashioned way. We built their servers by hand, racked them, and managed them one by one for nearly a decade. That kind of experience is hard to find, and even harder to match. It’s the reason we’ve outlived so many of our competitors through thick and thin.
So the number 10,000, while nice, doesn’t really speak to what we’ve accomplished holistically. It speaks to what we’ve accomplished lately.
Today, our competitors range from bored teenagers in Europe, Asia, and South America all the way to the Fortune 100 behemoths in Redmond, Mountain View, and elsewhere. We’ve built relationships with our customers one server at a time, and we’ve done it more than 10,000 times for more than 15 years.
This brings us back full circle to the surprising bit of trivia that opened this post.
When ServInt was founded in 1995, there were less than 18,000 dotcoms in the world. We didn’t know what the Internet was going to become, but we knew it was going somewhere. We knew we were helping to build something much larger than ourselves, and we continue to do so today.
In 2010, there are millions, if not billions, of dotcoms. The driver behind that growth isn’t just experience (we have that) and it isn’t just ambition (check). It’s fearlessness.
We define fearlessness as the ability to see uncertainty as opportunity. From our point of view, it’s the one constant virtue in all successful businesses and we believe we’ve made fearlessness a habit at ServInt.
So Happy (belated) Birthday dotcom! Here’s to another 25 years!
Photo by Conor Keller