Older? Yes. Wiser? I hope so. Finished? No way!
The Telalink anniversary was newsworthy enough to earn a feature spot on WPLN, Nashville’s public radio station. Blake Farmer did a great job capturing the Telalink spirit. He even joined us for the anniversary party at Flyte and got a chance to interview even more folks.
I feel caught between a lot of emotions these days. There’s the nostalgia of the 20 year anniversary of Telalink where old friends reunited and fond memories were revisited. That emotional high refreshes me whenever I recall the thrill of successfully selling the company. All of those stories that accompany the days when our lives were so intertwined in working to make Telalink a success- I am enjoying that and looking forward to sharing more of those stories with you.
At the same time, after 13 years, Sitemason, the company that Tim and I started as we were leaving Telalink, may very well be facing its biggest opportunity to make an impact in the Internet world. One would think that if we haven’t sold out, gone public, grown into a multi-million dollar operation or merged with another company by now, that we are doomed to fail. Perhaps, but for the first time in a long time, maybe since we launched Sitemason in 2001, I feel just like I did when we were an early stage start-up with Telalink.
There’s much more to write about Sitemason these days. After years of watching the CMS industry evolve while we relegated ourselves to existing as little more than a lifestyle company on the sidelines, we recently decided to dedicate ourselves to re-imagining a product that could legitimately serve as an alternative to the typical open-source code CMS products that are so popular today (think WordPress, Drupal and Joomla). With Travis Graham, Billy White and Byron Fanning on board, for the first time in a long time, we felt like the A team was assembled.
Now, I know what you’re thinking- “most EVERYONE uses WordPress! How can you possibly compete with them?” We don’t need to compete with them or anyone else. These products have their place and even hosted services such as LightCMS and Squarespace are extremely popular, hosted services. We like, admire and respect them all and don’t plan to outcompete any of these solutions. The world is a better place with these products and services.
However, we have seen, heard and experienced enough to know that there is plenty of room for Sitemason 6. We’ve built this CMS for talented, sophisticated web developers who need more. They don’t want themes. They don’t want to worry about patches and upgrades and they don’t want to be told that they will need to download a plug-in that may or may not work with the next version of the CMS. They don’t want to run a hosting business. They don’t want to run a support desk. They don’t want to track down an obscure hacker attack.
They want to build. They want to build brands, businesses and unbelievably sophisticated websites. That’s why we registered the mark, “Build on Us®” The creative population is ready for something that doesn’t require “workarounds,” “themes,” and “throttled web traffic” solutions. In response, we dusted off our “Internet Pioneer” hats and talked to our most trusted (and quite talented, we might add) web developer friends. Honestly, we talked to anyone in the business who would give us the time and who believed that the entrepreneurial spirit hadn’t peaked with what exists in the world now. With the insight, thoughtfulness and generous contributions of some of the most respected web developers we know, we’ve re-launched the most advanced version of Sitemason for a market that reaches far beyond Nashville.
So, about those mixed emotions I mentioned earlier. Once again, we’re little fish, underdogs, new players. We’re wide-eyed. We’re excited, nervous, thrilled, anxious, hungry, driven. No one cares that we introduced Nashville to the Internet in 1993. We don’t either. We’re introducing something much bigger this time. Stay tuned. We’re about to take off!
AUTHOR: Thomas Conner
Thomas Conner is the co-founder, president and chief financial officer of Sitemason, a hosted, supported alternative to Wordpress and Drupal, built for agencies, freelance designers and developers.