Ten years ago today, I decided I was going to build a website. I started my journey by registering my first domain. I needed to get the site hosted so I signed up for an account with Hetzner.
Thinking back now, embarrassing as it may be, I really didn't know anything about the internet or building a website. I remember phoning the Hetzner support desk and asking seriously silly questions. I was given links to look at and nudged in the right direction. At one point, I think a Hetzner consultant even helped me debug a page I was trying to get working.
In 2008, Hans Wencke, MD of Hetzner at the time, took me on a tour of their data centre in Cape Town. It was quite an experience walking through aisle after aisle of servers. At that stage I was working on an elearning startup idea which didn't pan out but I've moved on to other projects. It feels like a lifetime ago.
I never would've thought that ten years down the line I would have worked on projects affecting thousands of South Africans, assisted with launching multiple web based businesses and successfully exited my first software startup.
In the beginning, my only way to get online was dialup; I later moved on to GPRS using a data card, then 3G and now, I run a mix of DSL and Fibre delivered via last mile wireless.
I remember printing code examples and tutorials to store in a flip file for future reference as looking everything up when I needed it either took too long or simply cost too much. Thankfully networks have evolved and I can now search for something I need and get a result almost instantly.
Throughout this journey of discovery and progression, Hetzner has been a constant. It's pretty amazing to think I've been a client of theirs for ten years. They must have great staff retention as I have come to know many of the staff by name through engaging with the team on many different matters. The team is knowledgeable, friendly, fast and efficient.
I hope to one day, if not yet, have people walk away from an engagement with one of my businesses and have the same feeling of satisfaction that I have after engaging with Hetzner.
Although the knowledge and experience I've gained and lessons I've learnt over the past ten years is invaluable, it feels like I'm just getting started.
I look forward to experiencing the next ten years of the web.