Want 11 CDs for free?

HTML for DummiesIt was completely unexpected. Out-of-the-blue I was asked today by one of my co-workers to write a blog post. I thought hard about which new front-end development tools I have been using lately, but couldn’t think of anything that had had a significant impact on my professional life recently. Then I looked at today’s date and I realized that it is my 20-year anniversary here at Boyle Software. These twenty years certainly had a significant impact on my life…

I had just finished my MPhil in Scottish Literature at Glasgow University when I moved to New York City in April, 1997. My computer science knowledge could be summed up thusly: I knew that there were PCs and Apple Macintoshes and if you used one you had to passionately hate the other. People were talking about the “Internet.” Whatever it was, I wanted to be prepared for it. I obtained a used copy of “HTML 1.0 for Dummies” at The Strand bookstore.

My first client for Boyle Software was Columbia House, a mail-order music club, (“Want 11 CDs for FREE?”), whose first website my company had just built for them. The site was a huge success for the client and, as you can imagine, it worked flawlessly cross-browser in both Netscape 2 and Internet Explorer 2.

Columbia House website in 1997

While Columbia House remained a client for over a decade, I eventually moved on to work for other clients of Boyle Software’s continuously growing client list: Bertelsmann, Morgan Stanley, The Apartment, Oman Tourism – different industries, different technologies, different people. The only common thread was the constant worry about Internet Explorer. It was also the era of Macromedia Flash. Everybody wanted a Flash site no matter how bad it turned out to be for the business. Technologies come and go, nowadays a tad faster, maybe, and with less noise than when Apple announced that it would no longer support Flash. Now it’s all about React and Angular and decoupled Drupal for me. There is often not enough time to get to know these exciting new technologies well enough before they disappear into the Wikipedia archive. I always had a crush on CSS. That has been around for a while and probably will still be for another good long while.

What kept me at the same place for twenty years in this fast-changing industry is Boyle Software’s underlying philosophy, which is to try an build long-lasting relationships with clients rather than just delivering a product and then turn away from it. In order to achieve a business relationship over decades, honesty is paramount: don’t over-promise and do the best work that you can. This means that in the past 20 years I have worked on multiple projects for the same client. It’s always nice to go back after a few years and still recognize some faces and the good old coffee machine in the neon-lit pantry. Recently I helped in making the iHeart Radio website responsive and I am currently working on Web and mobile apps for a new gym in Manhattan. Who knows what will come next? Read my blog post in 2037…

About Uwe Kristen

After graduating in Scottish Literature at University of Glasgow in 1996 Uwe put down his empty glass and left the pub. He took the next airplane to New York City and started coding websites. He still codes. He still reads.

2 thoughts on “Want 11 CDs for free?

  1. Congratulations, Uwe! 20 years, that’s certainly impressive. Where did you get that screenshot?

Comments are closed.