In 1995, JF and I started a little company – Netdiver. It’s original mission was to uncover and report on the economic possibilities of the emerging www.
ndlr: JF & I in pixel regalia presenting a new logo. Still love it (/him too).
We were going to ‘dive’ to fetch the pearls – in opposition to ‘surf’ – which was then buzz word du jour.
We thought it pretty clever.
Remember vividly my awe upon ‘entering’ the infant web – wow – we are now connected to the world! To this day – still awed.
First search was this single word: Idea.
Landed on TWChiatDay – Idea Factory which posited on a ‘new’ approach on how to run a creative studio – horizontal instead of hierarchial.
The interior ‘spaces’ were amazing – and have now become the norm for all those Silicon Valley giants and startups: funky offices – team pods – free food – game – flexible hours, etc.
Exactly what I was envisioning.
I concluded – if there’s one maybe there’s hundreds??
ndlr: Netdiver site banner circa ’99. Diving not surfing ;))
I remember the early www to be barely above double-digits millions. The web was ‘small’ and somewhat.. uh.. intimate.
I theorized ‘freelancing’ to become the economic norm – clients to be landed anywhere in the world and the ‘disenfranchising’ of selling both creative skills and goods to be possible.
At long last – designers could change the world with ‘communication’, ‘exchange’ and ‘collaboration. The circulation of new ideas to be unbelievably faster than pre-Internet since new ideas always reached ‘culture’ – post-mortem for authors.
Followed 3 intensive years of stealth research gazing / gauging the ‘opportunities’ that would be afforded creatives types when they would settle in the then land of MiS, technologists and scientists.
I was mind-mapping infinite files to locate like-minded people who – as us – were exploring and building what today has become such a commodity – although an irreplaceable one as that.
In ’98, I decided to ‘share’ the results of the ‘likeminded’ research – aka bookmarks with small screencaps – our visual trademark 200 x 115 pixels and a bit of text to describe it.
ndlr: Wayback Machine archives
We hard-coded a ‘website’ with frames and attempted to emulate a ‘magazine’ look and started to post (lol) – what would later become Netdiver Mag.
Way long before blogs were even in the ‘pipe’ of extraordinarily talented visionaries.
ndlr: Netdiver vintage pins + postcard distributed at conferences / events.
Through the years I kept a directory titled ‘x_pired’ in which I saved thumbnails of websites either redesigned or gone offline.
I had this sentimental attachment. I remembered all of them. It made me sad when so much creativity (not counting the man-hours) was thrown out in the ether. Once bright lights. Now gone.
I chose to turn that sadness into a somewhat very unofficial web museum of what was new in design.
This is what Netdiver Vintage edition is about.
Since onset – I had and still have a very privileged overview of the web. When I went on hiatus – I don’t exaggerate stating having visited over 150k websites.
I have saved all the ‘archives’ pre-database years – and I am continually adding to it. So far 2.4k projects listed.
ndlr: Netdiver Vintage 2 columns interface.
ndlr2: Hard to believe it was once trendy to use very + very small fonts.