Techdirt Turns Twenty!

from the wasn't-expecting-that dept

We more or less broke the news of this with yesterday's podcast, but Techdirt turns 20 years old today if you trace it back to its true origins. It was, initially, an email newsletter I wrote up to send to other students at Cornell's MBA program and (more realistically) a way to bolster my resume to help me get a job in the tech industry. And, damn, did it ever get me a job -- just not the one that I expected. After a few years as a hobby, in which it grew and grew and grew, Techdirt became my full-time job, and it's been that way ever since. I can't believe that it's gone on for 20 years.

What I do remember was staying up late on that Saturday, August 23rd, twenty years ago, crafting the very first newsletter. Initially, it was supposed to be an email newsletter on the intersection of technology and business, based on Danny O'Brien's brilliant NTK newsletter (which was much more pure tech, and much funnier) -- though I'm only just now realizing that NTK had only begun a few months earlier. In my head, at the time, NTK was an established giant in the space and I was just some kid. Danny eventually discovered my newsletter and was quite kind about it (though, when I finally met him in person many years later, he jokingly pretended to wind up to punch me for copying him). I, unfortunately, can't find it now, but I believe Danny's initial response to me was something along the lines of "don't worry: the only IP we believe in stands for 'Internet Protocol'." But, knowing Danny, I'm sure what he actually said was much wittier.

Techdirt has obviously grown and changed and grown and changed some more over the years (we certainly didn't focus nearly so much on legal and policy issues at first). And a huge part of what's driven the success of Techdirt has been the community here. We didn't always have a huge community, but it's always been supportive and educational. The community around Techdirt has challenged me, educated me, and inspired me over and over and over again. I've met (both virtually and in real life) so many amazing and wonderful people that I likely never would have met without Techdirt. And, it still excites me every single day. I have no idea what I would have done if I hadn't started Techdirt on a whim 20 years ago, but I can't imagine how it could possibly have resulted in a life as fulfilling as the one I've had, even through various challenges along the way.

If you want to know more about the history, please go listen to yesterday's podcast, which was a fun discussion about those early days and how the site changed over time. However, I did want to thank all of you reading this, who are a part of the larger Techdirt community for being around, for sharing stories, for giving us feedback, for participating, for commenting, and for just reading what we put out. And because it's so often the community here that is more interesting and knowledgeable than the writers here, I'm curious -- to anyone reading this, let us know in the comments: when did you discover Techdirt, and how?

Filed Under: 20 years, anniversary, techdirt

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  1. icon
    PaulT (profile), 24 Aug 2017 @ 2:05am

    Re: Re:

    As I understand it, they're not "public domain" as such, but for practical and other reasons Mike chooses not to try and enforce the copyright that's technically attached to them. When the trolls come here and try and goad him with threats to copy his work, his response is to go ahead because he doesn't care, not because he couldn't technically try to stop them.

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