25 Years…

blog April 15th, 2024


I realized that my blog and this domain (kataan.org) are 25 years old today! I started a project to move the older items from a text archive (downloaded from blogger, remember them?) into my WordPress database. I hadn’t realized that with blogger, I used it like Twitter as a microblog – there are some days where I posted multiple times a day, on different trains of thought.

1999 was an exciting time. I was working in the middle of the first dot-com boom, right in the center of it all in San Francisco’s SOMA district. I quit my job at a gaming company for a jump in responsibility and a share of a streaming music startup right in the middle of the Napster mess. I was in the meeting on business  deals where we danced around money, because no one was sure who should be paying whom. Do we pay for exposure, or do they pay for content?

There were 3 search engine companies within a couple of blocks of me. Hotwired became the cool new site. Friends at web companies were charging clients like they were attorneys, getting them a presence on that web thing that they didn’t understand. South Park, a little green oasis in  the SOMA area of San Francisco became the center of “Multimedia Gulch”. Companies that had been focused on CD multimedia moved to web design and creative services. It all went a little too far. fuckedcompany.com documented some of the excesses, like flake.com, a portal for  breakfast cereal lovers, and a company down the street that had their coming out party on a Tuesday and closed the doors on a Thursday. It’s a shame that fuckedcompany isn’t in the internet archive, it would have been fun to go back and look through the entries.

[oh, the parties – it seemed like someone was getting a round of funding and throwing a party in their converted warehouse/sweatshop space. One of the guys at my startup hosted an email list with all of the “private” parties going on almost nightly in SOMA. The recyclers in the area had a field day with collecting empty beer cans and bottles…]

I started my photography fixation in 1999, shooting street scenes in SOMA and the warehouses converted into “Self-Actualizing Internet Nodes” with a LOMO LC-A, a Soviet-era film camera that became a go-to camera for most of the 2000s.

By mid 2001, the money had started drying up, Aeron chairs and office furniture were available at bargain prices from closed-door dot-coms. 9/11 ended the boom once and for all. A friend of mine, a San Francisco native, went through his address list in 2002 and realized that two thirds  of his contacts had left the city as quickly as they’d come a few years back.

It came in with a bang and left with a whisper. But, it was a good time while it lasted.



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