New Fangled Technology – The World Wide Web

Remember… It WAS 1996, and the Internet was new fangled technology then! Back then my first 14.4k modem cost $400… fax machines were the size of photocopiers… and mobile phones were as big as bricks!

I lived in the western suburbs of Sydney Australia at the time… so after a fair bit of head scratching about how I can earn some money, I started “chatting” to local businesses about getting online.

There weren’t many web designers around at the time, and this whole Internet thing was so new that I spent an extraordinary amount of time simply “teaching” people about what the Internet was about, and how it could help them in business.

I made presentations to local chambers of Commerce, to trade Association conferences, to all sorts of people, to tell them about this new fangled technology that was known as the world wide web!

While people were fairly interested in this phenomenon… they didn’t want to part with any cash on something that wasn’t “proven”… It was probably only a fly-by-night fad anyway!

I discovered very early on the pressures facing small businesses when deciding what to spend their advertising budget on… and a web site wasn’t anywhere on the list!

Say “Hi” To SydWest

I actually beat CitySearch to the Local Search Market!!!

I needed to demonstrate how the Internet could be useful to LOCAL businesses… Let’s face it… what point was it to a local business getting enquiries from the other side of the world???

So “SydWest” was born – a site which (between 1996 and 2001) focussed on providing local people with information about what was going on in their very own backyard!

Sydwest was one of the very first local web sites on the ‘net – ever!

It gave me an opportunity to cold call any business in the area, and get to speak to the owner real easy… I simply asked
“I’m compiling a free directory of local businesses… so what’s your URL?”

Since most receptionists had NO idea of what I was talking about, I often got through to the owner to talk to them about it… and explain what the net was… etc etc etc.

Thankfully, I got some good work out of it at the time.

Fast forward to now…

Even though the site is no more, I’m still in touch with, and doing work for, some of the clients I picked up from way back then. And it got me “started” in the web-design business.

Posted by Stephen Spry  


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