The first web page went live on August 6, 1991. It was created by Tim Berners-Lee to share information about the World Wide Web project which was intended as a communication tool for government agencies and universities. It ran on a NeXT computer at the European Organization for Nuclear Research, CERN. By 1993, another 129 websites had gone live.
In 1995, Mike graduated with honours in Computer Information Systems and Micro Computers in Business. Now, there were 23,500 sites on the World Wide Web. Mike was about to add to that number, although it wouldn’t be easy. Still, the man had a dream. He set up a business and named it International Internet Advertising Services Inc.
Mike and Angela were now married and had a baby boy who kept Angela very busy at home. Mike was kept busy figuring out how to create websites and building a web server to host them. While he was clearly a computer wiz, knowledge about this World Wide Web was hard to find.
At 25, Mike was a husband, father, and ambitious entrepreneur. He persevered. Accessing the WWW through a BBS (short for Bulletin Board System), he put up his first website and somehow managed to convince a few other businesses to use this new form of advertising.
Mike’s site was basically a directory of his client’s websites since Larry Page and Sergey Brin hadn’t yet invented Google. Jack’s Towing was one of Mike’s first clients.
“I remember Jack,” says Mike. “I called him up a few months after I’d created his web page to ask if it had brought him more business. He said no, and I was crushed. I started to apologize. Jack stopped me and laughed as he told me I’d saved him millions of dollars. I didn’t understand. Jack explained that while he was still getting the same number of calls from clients, he was getting tons of calls from suppliers vying for his business. He was able to make some great deals and that made his business far more profitable. He was a very happy client.”
Digital cameras were yet to become popular, so most clients provided printed snapshots. That meant scanning the images, which was quite time-consuming. James was 16 and going to school, but also had a side job digitizing the history of rural BC communities. His job was to scan books and create a website. James and Uncle Mike forged their first professional arrangement: James scanned the images for Mike’s sites and Mike helped James install hardware and get websites running.
Still working for the Correctional Service, Joanne was transferred to Abbotsford in 1995 and became the Regional Manager for Policy, Planning, and Information Technology for BC and the Yukon. She remembers being annoyed walking through the office seeing people playing Solitaire, which was released with Windows 3.0. Still, she defended this to her superiors as a way for staff to get used to using a mouse.
Forty-five kilometers away in Surrey, Andrew was spending a lot of his time designing computers and network systems and teaching others how to use them. Paul was still living with his parents in Romford, going to college and working part-time in a tropical fish shop. Nick had just been born in Ontario.