When calendars turned over at the beginning of 2006, there was no Tesla, Tinder, or Twitter. Hell, there wasn’t even an iPhone yet. And Digital Trends was just an idea rattling around the heads of a couple of ordinary geeky guys from Oregon.
Ask them why they did it and you’ll get the most honest answer you’ll ever get from a businessman.
“We loved gadgets,” co-founder Ian Bell says. “Why wouldn’t we start a tech site?”
“Ian and I met at a mutual friend’s wedding in the buffet line to get food,” says Dan Gaul, co-founder of Digital Trends. “He was talking to a guy about a phone [the guy] had that wasn’t even on the market yet. Ian said, ‘Man I’d love to get my hands on cool stuff like that.’ I said I’d build the website if you get the products.” So the pair scrimped and saved and eventually rented a small office above a Swedish furniture store in Lake Oswego, Oregon, before launching a blog on this new service called “WordPress” that everyone was talking about.
Today, DigitalTrends.com gets 25 million unique visitors a month, and recently crossed a new threshold: The site dished out 90 million page views in June. Along the way, it built a video arm that serves up millions of views each month, added a sister site – The Manual, the Essential Guide for Men – and a Spanish-language version, and has expanded tremendously.
“…and the tech world that Digital Trends seeks to explain exploded around us.”
It was a long climb for a couple of guys from Oregon, explains Nick Mokey, employee number one and current Managing Editor.
“I showed up the first day wearing a tie and almost got laughed out of the office,” Mokey jokes. Yet the site thrived, and the tech world that Digital Trends seeks to explain exploded around us. The iPhone was born. The smartphone revolution gripped the planet. Cars and clothes and kitchen appliances all got smarter. Twitter was born, went public, grew, shrank, annoyed us, and reminded us why we love the Internet.
It was a remarkable 10 years. Geniuses emerged; our heroes passed away. Footballs were thrown, deflated or otherwise (we love you, Tom). Tiger Woods dazzled and disgusted us. They came up with something called a “cronut.”
Meanwhile, DT grew and expanded. We hailed the death of the Zune. We took the first steps to uncover the real cost of Obamacare’s website, healthcare.gov. We spoke to Jesse Jackson, who warned us of the Digital Divide. We explored the underground world of vaping – and maybe took a puff or two (sorry, Bill: We inhaled).
And along the way, oh, how technology thrived.
“It’s been amazing to watch,” explains Nathan Bell, Ian’s brother and employee No. 2. “It used to be, you were either into technology or you weren’t. Now there’s tech in my car, my gym bag, my watch …”
The world ahead will be even wilder. In the next decade, we’ll discard our driver’s licenses in favor of cars that do the driving for us. We’ll embrace biohacking and the art of human augmentation. And maybe even find a way to slow the aging process. We’ll go from dating online to finding the perfect mate through genetics … well, maybe we will.
To celebrate this dynamic decade, Digital Trends is proud to unveil the DT10. Over the next few months, we’re going to take a look at the world around us, examining how it’s changed over the past 10 — and thinking about where it’s going. And not just the small stuff. We’re looking at the big topics: Biology. Dating. Cars. Space travel. Sports. Clothing. Music, and more.
We’ve spent the past few months interviewing leading experts in their field to find out firsthand how life has changed over the years – and to learn where scientists, businessmen, researchers, and thought leaders think the path will take us in the next decade. Visit www.dt10.com for the entire series, starting today and running through the end of the year.
From 2006 to 2026, here’s where tech has been, where it brought us, and the crazy places it’s about to take us.