In early December 2008 a couple of Germans and a Kiwi were huddled around a laptop on a tiny table in a windowless proto co-working space in Wellington, a city famously known as the craft beer capital of New Zealand. We were about to witness the first customer transaction on our newly launched iwantmyname domain registrar website. Who would have thought that those same three founders would be celebrating a decade in business together this week, having satisfied over 100,000 happy customers globally?
Starting a technology company from scratch with zero capital is a hugely daunting task. But it is a task made easier when you identify a product-market fit that strikes a chord with your users. We began with the outrageous goal of “unfucking the domain industry” and hence relieving our customers of the ongoing pain of spammy upsells and ugly interfaces that had blighted the domain registrar industry for decades beforehand.
We often hear about the “overnight successes” of the sometimes over-hyped tech startup scene. The reality is somewhat different. Most success stories have a basis in years of hard work that the public never sees. Think thousands of hours coding and trouble-shooting late at night, experimenting with marketing content and initiatives through to writing up hundreds of pages of documentation and legal materials. All of which culminate in that exciting first customer.
But the most rewarding aspect of this ten year journey has been helping others. In particular we set aside a portion of any profits for supporting global aid initiatives and hardly a month went by without us fronting at a Startup Weekend or some other tech or startup meetup around town. We shouted a lot of local craft beer and pizza in those days! So early adopters from our local community really helped us get traction and for that we are eternally grateful. Although we are now a fully remote working company, Wellington remains our spiritual home and we still have a bunch of team members based in the region. So to say thanks, we stepped up to support this week’s WellyTech community awards . I daresay there will be the usual lineup of craft beers and slices of pizza on the night.
Just like our favourite local craft beer brand – we turned our garage project into a global success story, with the help of our local fanbase. Thanks for supporting iwantmyname for ten years everyone!