Back at the Beginning

It’s been about ten years since I designed my first web page and here I am, back where it all started. After building websites professionally for nine years, I feel like I’ve come full circle in some ways. I’ve gone from being an enthusiastic amateur designer to a cynical project manager at a web design firm. But all of that is behind me now. It’s time to go back to my creative roots. As I enter the blogosphere, it’s time to have fun again.

It all started in my senior year of college, when the web was still in its infancy. Here was this amazing new medium that seemed to present limitless creative opportunities for a wannabe artist like myself. As an English major, my life had no real direction, but the web filled that void. I built my first page using a plug-in for Microsoft Word, but my brother soon showed me how to write HTML. For the next year it was a continuous adventure learning new skills, and of course the web itself was evolving quickly. The first time I saw a JavaScript mouseover effect I nearly shat myself. When CSS support appeared in Internet Explorer 3, a whole new era of artistic freedom began.

In late ’96, I became the first employee at WebMedia Services, a small design firm in Williamsville, NY. It was a dream come true! I was building web pages for a living, and it was great. The adventure continued, and I learned so much more. Years passed, the company grew, and the projects became more sophisticated. Instead of building five-page static websites, we were building database-driven applications, shopping carts, and administrative systems. In 2001 it became evident that we needed a dedicated project manager to coordinate all of the various aspects of production–client contact, content gathering, design, programming, etc. I volunteered for the position.

Thus began the downward slide. Things were actually pretty great for the first year or two. Managing projects was yet another adventure, and I threw myself into the job. But being the interface between clients and the developers took its toll. As a designer I had been fairly righteous–always arguing in favor of doing the “right” thing in defiance of silly client requests. But it’s a whole different story when you have to deal with the clients yourself. I began to acquiesce to any ridiculous client demands just to shut them up. Then I would often face tough resistance from the developers, who were just doing their jobs by advocating the proper way of doing things. After awhile web design was no longer fun. In fact, it sucked.

And so, after nearly nine years, I have parted ways with WebMedia. It’s time to go back to my creative roots. It’s time to have fun again.

-Matt

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Back at the Beginning

3 thoughts on “Back at the Beginning

  1. Awesome, Mattdude! ๐Ÿ™‚ Glad you got the blog up and in full effect. Although you make me feel like my own blog is so underwhelming at the moment… ๐Ÿ˜‰ But I’m just easing into it.

    Lookin’ forward to checkin’ this shit on a daily basis, bro. I’ll figure out how to get RSS output from Greymatter, too.

    Nice post there, bro, it’s fun to think about those days of old. Keep it real,

    — Voidious

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  2. Thanks for the comments guys! ๐Ÿ™‚ I’m still getting into the swing of this “blogging” thing m’self.

    Hey now that we’re joinin’ Miker on the blog scene I’m hoping we can look forward to some datasplash updates. Y’know, get some dueling blog action goin’ (;

    -Matt

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