Over the weekend I got chatting with an old friend. The subject of my “strange hobby” came up they asked if I was still doing “that website thing”. Well, yes. Yes I am. The conversation went on for a while and it made me realise just how long I’ve written about mobile phones, plus I reflected at the companies that have come and gone over the years.
First, let me take you back. I write this in 2018 but, back in 2002, the site looked like this. It all started when I went shopping with my girlfriend. I owned a classic Nokia 6210 at the time. A numeric keyboard, a battery that would last for days on end and that Snake game that everyone would play. However, although I’d never heard of the thing, I spotted a handset with a colour screen. It was called an “Orange SPV” and it was the product of a Microsoft and Orange collaboration. The first big Microsoft Smartphone. The member of staff in the Orange store (Orange later merged with T-Mobile and became EE) knew virtually nothing about the handset and it had only literally just turned up that morning. I bought it and that started my journey. Back in 2002 there wasn’t really any social media. Nobody really had the full internet on their mobile phones and websites were something we looked at every now and then with a desktop computer.
Held together with Microsoft Frontpage, I never thought that my small set of pages – hosted in a folder on a family website – would ever still be online some 16 years later. Blogging was relatively unheard of then. You either had a “website” or a “forum”, and updating a website was a big task. Now, me and the team can write articles on the move, on a mobile phone. We can snap a shot from an event or film a video and have it online in seconds. Back then it would involve buying a “proper digital camera” and uploading the shot over a very slow internet feed.
Just a few months after starting the “SPV” pages, I decided that buying the domain name which matched a heavily-advertised TV show was the way forward. I knew that I couldn’t just have all these hints and tips about the Orange SPV in a little folder online, so I bought www.bornsloppy.co.uk and moved over to that. However, a month later we switched to the Coolsmartphone.com name, which went live on February 14th 2003 and is still here today.
My friend asked why I do it. I guess the answer is buried deep on that 2003 capture. At the time I was getting around 60 emails a day from people. This was before the age of Twitter and Facebook, so all communication came via email. The questions, tips, thoughts and opinions from all around the world – from you guys. It was fantastic, and it still is.
Along the way I’ve also met some fantastic people. I always tell the story of how I met the Microsoft staff in Seattle and how their first comments were, “Hey, you’re the Born Sloppy guy! We never knew that changing ringtones was such a big thing!” It was an amazing experience to meet the people that actually created the smartphones and the software.
Over the years I’ve been really lucky. I’ve been to Barcelona every year .. for almost a decade now. I’ve been to see how Huawei make their phones in China. I’ve been across to Seattle dozens of times, to Boston, to Florida, to many other countries too. But don’t, don’t ever expect stuff for free. Don’t expect to be the next big blog or the next big YouTube star by just doing a little bit here and there. It takes time, it takes effort and it’s hard work. So, if you’re thinking about setting up a blog or starting your own YouTube channel, be prepared to work hard at it and continue to do so for possibly years to come. This stuff ain’t easy.