In November of 2002, I was hunkering down for my first Montreal winter. The debilitating cold was a great excuse to stay inside and learn something new. And there began my first foray into web development. I had no idea what I was doing.
What I did know is that you needed identity – and that's how I came to register bradleyboy.com. I spent the next several years tinkering with its design and use, with varying success at both. But over the years, I've used it less and less. In fact, when I started cleaning things up a few weeks ago, I immediately noticed that it wasn't working at all. My former WordPress blog had stopped loading altogether and neither I or anyone else noticed (cue "tree falling in the woods" analogy here).
The question is why
The decline of bradleyboy.com was no random event. At the same time as I was neglecting this website, the web was transitioning to the cloud and social networking. With that came an ease of sharing and connecting that made it easy to abandon your own homegrown site. I too fell into the vortex of Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, et al – with pictures and posts scattered to the four corners of the internet.
However, that ease of sharing and connection came at a cost. It meant our content was now presented inside someone else's frame. That photo you toiled over, making sure the composition and lighting was just right? You don't mind if it sits here next to this 1800Flowers ad on Facebook, do you?
These frustrations were nothing new, of course. The reason we gravitated to these services in the first place is that their ease of use outweighed any warts that came with them. I had tried – unsuccessfully – to revive bradleyboy.com on several occasions, but the mishmash of software I needed to install and maintain to get anywhere near what I wanted always left me back at square one.
The right tool for the job
A few years ago, Todd Dominey and I began discussing what was next for SlideShowPro, the suite of multimedia publishing tools we had been crafting for several years. It was becoming clear that people wanted more than a component within a website – which is what SlideShowPro was, and still is – and instead needed a tool that could publish their entire website for them. That began a long journey into an exciting new product, now named Koken, as well as a new addition to our team (say hi to Lauren!). An early beta of the Koken platform is the engine behind this new version of bradleyboy.com.
So, I'm dogfooding here and am very excited about that. For all of SlideShowPro's utility, I could never find a use for me personally, and that made it difficult to relate to our customers who were passionately using it themselves. Koken is perfect for my needs here, and I have a feeling it will fill the void for many others as well.
So, here we go.