How launching my first website changed my life

By Dann Berg

Published or Updated on

Web design sketch Photo by on Unsplash

Eleven years ago today, I built and launched my very first website. At the time, I was working retail seven days a week, splitting my time between a suit store and a a piercing/tattoo studio. I’d always been drawn to technology, but had very little knowledge about how it actually worked. I followed online tutorials and figured out how to purchase a domain name, set up hosting, and install Wordpress.

When I think about where I am now in my journey from where I was then, it blows my mind. Compound interest is very real, and applies to more than just monetary investments.

I created the website, but had no idea what to do with it. I used my new pulpit to tell a random story of two battling buskers on the subway. I didn’t know what else to write. I didn’t post again for four months.

After about a year of posting on-and-off, I decided it would be fun to write news stories. If an article caught my eye, I’d do some more research and publish my own blog post on the topic. Here’s my “review” of the iPad 2, and here’s a random article about someone that wrote a Whac-A-Mole virus. Why not post news articles on my personal blog? I just thought it was fun.

A year after that — so two years since first launching my first website — I published an article that would change my life: Body Hacking: My Magnetic Implant. It blew up, hitting the top of Hacker News and getting republished (with permission) by Gizmodo. It was that Gizmodo byline, as well as the news content I’d been writing and self-publishing, that got me my first full-time staff writer position at Laptop Magazine a little while later.

As it turned out, journalism wasn’t the right career for me. A few years later, I pivoted into Engineering/FinOps, which is a much better fit for me. But I wouldn’t have gotten here if I didn’t get there first.

I can’t believe it was eleven years now since I launched that first website. It feels like a lifetime ago, and it feels like yesterday.

IAmDann is still online for posterity’s sake, but my web skills have come a long way since then. I’m super proud of this website that you’re reading right now. Especially since I designed the Hugo theme myself.

We’ve come a long way, baby. Happy anniversary, IAmDann.

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