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24 Years

posted by Jason Kottke   Mar 14, 2022

a collection of past designs for kottke.org

24 years ago today, I published the first post on kottke.org and, aside from a few weeks-long stretches (including a two-month paternity break when my son was born), I just never stopped. 1998! The late 20th century, for god’s sake. I write an anniversary post like this every year and I’m increasingly unsure how to think about the magnitude of that length of time — 24 years is just a few months away from being half of my life. Half. Of. My. Life. How? Why?!

In 2018, on the 20th anniversary of the site, I wrote a little bit about what I’ve gotten out of the site:

Some of my older posts are genuinely cringeworthy to read now: poorly written, cluelessly privileged, and even mean spirited. I’m ashamed to have written some of them.

But had I not written all those posts, good and bad, I wouldn’t be who I am today, which, hopefully, is a somewhat wiser person vectoring towards a better version of himself. What the site has become in its best moments — a slightly highfalutin description from the about page: “[kottke.org] covers the essential people, inventions, performances, and ideas that increase the collective adjacent possible of humanity” — has given me a chance to “try on” hundreds of thousands of ideas, put myself into the shoes of all kinds of different thinkers & creators, meet some wonderful people (some of whom I’m lucky enough to call my friends), and engage with some of the best readers on the web (that’s you!), who regularly challenge me on and improve my understanding of countless topics and viewpoints.

I had a personal realization recently: kottke.org isn’t so much a thing I’m making but a process I’m going through. A journey. A journey towards knowledge, discovery, empathy, connection, and a better way of seeing the world. Along the way, I’ve found myself and all of you. I feel so so so lucky to have had this opportunity.

I’ve been going through a bit of a rough patch for the past several months, both related to the site and not, and it’s so helpful for me to read that today, to be reminded of what kottke.org has given me and the special place it occupies in my life. I know some of you have been reading since the very beginning and others only for a few weeks/months, but I’d like to thank all of you for coming along with me on this journey.

And hey, while I have you here, I’d especially like to thank those readers who have supported kottke.org with a membership over the last five years — that financial support has allowed me to keep this site open and free for everyone to read, an increasing rarity in today’s subscription media environment. If you would like to join them (or if you’re a former member1 wanting to contribute again), step right this way.

  1. I discovered the other day that there are nearly as many former members of kottke.org as current members. That seems surprising to me, but I’m not entirely sure why…