How it Started

One day, several years ago (2003), I told Sherree that I thought we should start a website. "Why?" We could share photos, Scout stuff, and anything else with family and friends. I didn't have a real purpose in mind, I just thought it might be fun.

I wasn't new to the idea of building a website. Through the mid- and late-90s I had a little site on whatever Internet service provider I used that month, and for a few years (starting in 1996) I worked for the ARRL building their website. It had been years since then, however, and a lot of the technology had changed in that time. I had just installed the Google Toolbar, which had a link that said "Blog This!" I didn't know what that meant, but it led me to this thing called Blogger, which was interesting because it provided an exceptionally easy way to build and add new content to a website. A few days later we registered (July, 2003). It wasn't long before I saw Blogger's shortcomings, however, and started to look for something else to build our new site with.

I found a tool called Movable Type by a little company called Six Apart. It did everything Blogger did, and then some! We wrote about vacations and movies and stuff, and added photos and links, and had fun with it. Nearly a year later I started to publish some content about site building and tutorials about how to use Movable Type (May, 2004). The more I used MT, the more I liked it, and the more I saw the unlimited potential it held.

Our little site--primarily filled with things like photos, weekend adventures, and other things about us and our life started to find an audience. There were people coming to read that stuff every day. started with only close friends and family visiting, but now we often had as many as 200 different people on our site each day; over 5,000 each month! As of June 2007, we see 700 unique people each day; more than 20,000 each month.

I enjoyed what we did with and started to dream a little... what if we could make money doing this? We were accepted into the Google AdSense program and started to display advertising on this site (August, 2004). In the first month we earned just over $12; a year later, almost $75 in a month!

Our site's design was positively tired, based on the work I had done on a site more than six years earlier. Sherree and I collaborated on something new: Scrapbook (May, 2005). When we announced the completed design, I found I had more and more to share about how I built it with Movable Type. As before, I could see the potential MT had--and the more I used it, the more I wanted to learn about it.

By late 2005, I had written a number of tutorials about MT, and even tried to write a few plugins that would bring additional functionality. I created an audience looking specifically for the work I had done, so I decided it was time to create a new site: Eat Drink Sleep Movable Type. One plugin I wrote (in September, 2005) was called Better File Uploader: it helped to make Movable Type's file upload tool work a little better. It was very popular, often with more than 30 downloads in a day!

There was a constant flow of feature requests from users of Better File Uploader, and I had a list of features I wanted, too. I started writing the next version in July, 2006, and five months later in November I released Better File Uploader 2.0. By the time I released version 2.0, version 1.x had been downloaded over 8,000 times. I thought I had built a great product, and I thought it was worth paying for--and others did, too. Since November over 200 licenses have been sold.

My experience with, knowledge of, and excitement about Movable Type continues to grow. Somewhere along the line I joined Six Apart's ProNet, participated in The Style Contest, and recently went to the Six Apart NYC Event.

Start a web site? Advertise? Sell a plugin or two? I've felt successful and have had a lot of fun with all that--and it's been fulfilling, too. And here I am dreaming some more: what if we started a business doing this stuff? uiNNOVATIONS is here.

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