How Ev, Dave, The Trotts & Matt Changed My Life

Last week, Robert Scoble stopped by at the True Ventures office to do a little video recording of SplashCast. Somehow he roped me into talking about the blog, the company, and of course the new properties we are adding to the network. He caught me on what happened to be fifth anniversary of GigaOM in its blog incarnation.

In the early days it was just a website, built with HomeSite and Dreamweaver, that acted as a repository for my articles and other bookmarks. Then came Blogger, which made publishing GigaOM (and its earlier versions) easier and simpler. It was so simple, that I stopped publishing my e-newsletter, Dotcomwala, and started blogging it. I also signed up for Dave ‘blogfather’ Winer’s Userland, and it quickly became the tool to store all the cool stuff I found on the net. It also meant more bookmarks and more information on the site.

And then came the Trotts. Back in the fall of 2001, the early blogging community was abuzz with the amazing new software called MoveableType. It allowed people to leave comments, and was a pretty slick affair. The only problem – installing it was not for the faint of heart, and needed some geek skills. No problems, said Ben Trott, the maverick who had written the software. He offered to install the software on my server.

And it was on December 13th, I wrote my first post about love and relationships in New York. It took me a while to get the courage to post that first post (which is nearly impossible to find now.) A few weeks later, I posted about Narayan Murthy who had started Infosys. Firda Beka designed the site for me, which has gone through more makeovers than Cher. (I wish I could find all the screen shots!

In Fall 2004, I met Matt Mullenweg, and I soon after switched to WordPress, which meant more design changes. We have been using WordPress since then, but that’s not the important part. Each blogging tool/platform has played a role in the evolution of this ongoing experiment called GigaOM. Just as middle school, high school, college and post graduate school shape a person, these blogging platforms, and thus the people behind them have been part of our growth.

In five years, I have been blogging all our lives have changed. Ben and Mena, a.k.a The Trotts, turned that little software into Six Apart, a next-generation software giant in the making that has turned blogging into a mainstream obsession. Matt Mullenweg moved to San Francisco, though he has not stopped cheering for Houston Astros. He started Automattic, and built Akismet, the comment spam stopper that has become indispensable. Ev Williams sold Blogger to Google, got rich, started Odeo, flirted with disaster, and still managed to find a way to move forward.(Go Ev!)

Okay, that little digital blotter of mine has now become a nano-company where some really cool and talented people are turning my dreams into a reality. I bet next five years will go by faster, mostly because of good company. Thanks to the blog, I have met many smart people. The blog has attracted a smart community of readers who have patiently educated me with their wisdom. And a few of them have become friendsgood friends. My sincerest hope is that the tradition continues.
Before I sign-off, I would like to repeat what Doc Searls once told me, and it has been one of the guiding principles for me: blog if you have something to say and respect your reader’s time. If you respect their time, they are going to give you some time of their day. Wise words…