9 years ago today

As I sit and work through my emails on a train towards London from Manchester, an email catches my attention. An email from my domain registrar. An email that really hits home and reminds me that it’s been 9 whole years. What a journey! 

9 years ago today I registered OnThisIsland.com, arguably my first ‘real’ web project, and uploaded the first ‘page’ on the 5th of April. If I thought that last year was a rollercoaster, the last 9 years has been immense, wonderful, terrifying and fantastic. To break down the milestones of this project, they can be broadly grouped as falling into either the good, the bad or the ugly.

Originally launched to help non-Greek speakers get information about upcoming events. Since then, we’ve performed a great deal of online experimentation of new web technologies through the site, all whilst building an awesome community over the years. I’ve seen our reader-base grow with the site, not just in numbers, but in maturity and in age.

So before I get all teared up, here’s the breakdown of the experiences of running OnThisIsland.com for the last 9 years.

The Good

Ticket Give-aways, Discounted Event Passes, Hottest OnThisIsland, Facebook apps and working with awesome people in big brands and small companies.

The doors that have opened to my from running this site has been an amazing side-effect of building using some of the latest technologies. I got to meet, chat and argue with the biggest and baddest CEOs of the coolest brands on the island. I got to scream at the Cyprus Tourism Organisation for their failures at marketing the island online and even got to be one of the original team members at what is now HeartCyprus.

Being able to launch the first Facebook app and Facebook-integrated competition on the island back in 2007 was an eye-opening experience and one that taught me alot of lessons on being the first to market. (I should probably write a blog post about that at some point).

All the good above cannot touch how awesome the community has been, with regards to sharing events with the site and engaging with the site via social media. This is a prime reason why I’ve opened up the OnThisIsland.com Story Tellers Programme, to be able to help other people get their opinions out there, without having to worry about the business/tech/boring sides of it.

The Bad

Scale, my age, opportunity cost and other mandatory obligations.

OnThisIsland (OTI) didn’t scale, whether it be due to other work obligations or the fact that getting funding for such a project on such a little island in the middle of the Med was impossible, they’re both excuses and I understand that and accept full responsibility for it.

To put it into perspective: YouTube.com was only registered 1,896 hours before OnThisIsland.com was.

Yea, let that sink in a little. Yea. Ouch.

Granted I also put a lot more focus on completing the army, building the portfolio of work for we did for brands, finishing university and growing my personal network. Would I have done things differently if I could go back? I don’t know… I doubt it, actually.

“Some quote about the bad being needed for there to be good” – Some Person Who You’ve Heard Of Before

The Ugly

Mari and The Economic Collapse

I launched OnThisIsland.com’s first live-blog to cover chaos that followed the Mari Explosions, jumping between friends houses, coffee-shops and anywhere I could plug into the internet depending on where there was electricity at the time.

It was heart-breaking to be at the core of the only live-feed from the ground, having to hear/see/feel the news as we shared it with worried on-lookers from around the world.

The next time I had to launch a live-blog was during the economic chaos that followed the EU’s highly-provocative decision to freeze and grab deposits from private bank accounts. The feed this time was run and synced with a team of volunteers, both on the island and around Europe. I’ve heard of whole investment firms who relied on our honest and transparent punch-by-punch reporting.

Thank you all!

All in all, it’s been an amazing 9 years, and I thank you all for all the experiences. To you, the countless volunteers I remember each and every one of you and the hard work you put in. I hope I’ve helped you back twice-fold by now.

I’m already looking to put together something extra special for all of you for the site’s 10th birthday next year. Ideas? Tweet me @inztinkt or drop me a message via the site’s FB page.

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