History of These Sites
A few of you have written in wondering about the origins of our
websites. I've written a short summary and a longwinded, if self-serving
version about how Super70s.com and Awesome80s.com came to be:
I created a Web page on the Pet
Rock in late 1994. Over the next 3 1/2 years I slowly created a number
of other pages on memorable icons of the 1970s and 1980s. In late 1998 I
purchased the domains Super70s.com and Awesome80s.com and created the
sites you are reading today. The site has gone from roughly 100 pages in
early 1999 to over a thousand in 2001. We reached the 10,000 page mark in
2004 and, thanks in part to a massive baseball section, we are over
400,000 pages as of April, 2006. That does not mean, however, that there
will necessarily be 500,000 pages by 2008, but I'll do my best!
The story of how these two websites (Awesome80s.com and Super70s) came
about starts out in early 1994. I was working for the Evil
Empire in Bellevue, Washington and walked by a co-worker whose cube
was always filled with O'Reilly and Associates books and who had
introduced me to Usenet the year before. He waved me over excitedly and
said, "Check this out!"
We had both created personal multimedia CDROMs using Microsoft's Multimedia
Viewer 2.0 program for fun (mine was a bore-fest on the eruption of
Mount St. Helens) and what he showed me that day was revolutionary, even
if I didn't immediately recognize it.
It may be hard to believe now, but in 1993, multimedia CDROMs ruled the
computing world and cost a comparable fortune. Microsoft's first-ever
encyclopedia - Encarta 1.0 - shipped that year for $395!
What he showed me was a program called Mosaic
with a primitive page showing the names and product logos of all our
software products (Word, Excel, etc.). The page was not nearly as well
formatted as those in our multimedia CDROMs. Blissfully ignorant of what I
was witnessing, I said, "So?" He then explained to me that he
was viewing a page stored on a computer at the college he attended and
then showed the "source" of the page showing how simple it was
to create compared to Multimedia Viewer (or anything else for that
In the weeks that followed, we talked about Mosaic and what it meant to
Microsoft and the industry. We agreed that if this tool caught on,
overpriced CDROMs would be a thing of the past and all the books in the
world could be put on-line and hyperlinked throughout to one another. If
that was possible, anything was. The key was that it could work on
virtually any computer and that as an open standard, no company could
charge a royalty for the use of the technology.1
It also was clear that Microsoft managers were not
taking this new technology seriously. It was, for example, just
about impossible to get web access from inside the company (my request was
denied). I left Microsoft and the Pacific Northwest in early 1994 for
Silicon Valley and ended up working for a
company that made Windows run on Macs and Unix machines. I lived
less than a mile away from a small office that was the headquarters of
Mosaic Communications (later renamed Netscape). I continued to follow the
developments at Netscape as we started to lose employees to them.
As was the custom in the mid-90s our company had a directory
on our web site for employees to put personal web pages. That lasted until
posting pictures of scantily clad women on his page. I'm sure similar
stories are why that fad did not last much past beyond the end of 1995.
My web page was a tribute to the Pet Rock, which had come up in
conversation with a coworker earlier in the week. (He joked that a donut
he found under his new cube was now solid as a rock and that he was
starting a fad - the Pet Donut - just like the Pet Rock of the 1970s. It
had been nearly 20 years since I had thought about that fad, and later
that week - after consulting a book on fads at the library - I created
what would later become the first
page of Super70s.com.)
Over the next few years, I added articles on such things as the Mood
Ring and Kent State. I
also started writing about my other favorite decade starting with an
article on the Rubik's
After successfully passing the Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer
exams in 1995, I created a
site to help others pass the exams and placed it here:
http://www.Best.com/~patmo. It managed to win a coveted Geek Site of
the Day in November 1996!2 (In fact
nearly a decade later, you can still find
links on other's pages to my long-since-abandoned site at Google.)
I also created other sites and even worked for a few years for that
rarest breed of 20th Century companies: a
profitable dotcom (Briefing.com).
There was a time in my life that I wanted to be the next Charlie
Rose or Terry Gross
and interview interesting people five days a week. Hence my work on
AllInterviews.com. I never did do very much with that site though I put to
use what little I learned in 2001 when I interviewed
Michael Dukakis for Awesome80s.com.
I also toyed with the idea of a site I was going to call
AllParodies.com. It was to provide parodies of certain websites.
Fortunately, one look at The
Onion put an end to my sophomoric efforts before they ever really got
With the Internet really starting to take off, and with a bruised
backside from kicking myself over not buying Business.com when I had the
chance,3 I began looking for my $1 billion
niche market. I settled on an idea of providing the ability to email any
page from any website but without actually having to set up an account.
This feature is common now, but was rare then and wasn't easy to
The domain name for this project was EmailThis.com. The folks at
ClickAbility.com made me an offer for rights to the domain name at the
height of the Internet Bubble in 1999, and I've never regretted accepting
it. Apparently they haven't either, as they continue to provide such a
service to CNN.com and others.
But I digress. I had started to realize that a good percentage of
people my age and younger got most of our information from the Web and
that what our generation would eventually need was a website to bring back
all the memories of our collective childhoods. I also thought that with my
broad interests and technical know-how, I could pull it off.
I started calling my sites The Super70s and The Awesome80s and got
positive feedback from the colleagues I showed it to.
Just after Christmas 1998, I decided I had enough pages for a pair of
real sites and purchased the domains Super70s.com and Awesome80s.com and
we celebrate each December 28th as our anniversary. I am very fortunate
that someone did not snap up those names in the interim.
The rest is, as they say, history.
Thanks for visiting!
1. Our initial concern, believe it or not, was not our benevolent
employer, but Compton's New Media. They had recently revealed they had
been awarded a patently ridiculous patent broadly covering multimedia
itself! They all but threatened to sue for royalties on virtually every
CDROM published. An appeal for sanity to the Patent Office eventually put
the vast legal staff at Compton's in their proper place.
2. Sadly, Scott Ruthfield took down his GSOTD web site some time
around 1997. I was able to find the listing via the Wayback
Machine. Here's what he had to say about my site: "OK, so I'm
giving free publicity to a company. But you've gotta hope there's not much
competition in this area, and they have that neat beep." I have no
recollection of what the "neat beep" reference is, but I wish I
3. We were all lamenting the fact that only two or three years
earlier we could have bought hundreds of domain names, such as
Pets.com or News.com, for a hundred dollars each and could have sold them
a few years later for thousands or even hundreds of thousands of dollars.