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From that point, the dot-com bubble began inhaling all the air (and capital) in the room and didn't stop until it left us all with economic Bubble Yum stuck to our faces. There are millions of stories told about this epic boom, bubble, and bust period. This is mine. It starts in 1997 with me at age 17 and a copy of Microsoft Frontpage in my parents' basement and ends with me living in a double-wide trailer on the banks of the Yukon River in the Alaskan Bush five years later. Here's what happened in between.

Respect my authori-tay!Like many other young nerds of the era, I suddenly found around 1997 that my understanding and knowledge of the Web was commanding a lot more respect from people significantly more powerful, wealthier, and at&t iphone cases xr older than myself, By this time, using MS Frontpage, I had already built a few very simplistic Web sites for fun that were not even remotely attractive or very functional, but even my basic Web design skills were in high demand at the time, and it was still presumed that teenage nerds could be hired cheaply..

Suddenly I was taking meetings with one of the most powerful lobbyists in Colorado to talk about building a Web presence for key campaigns. I built a site for a top wedding photographer out of Boulder in exchange for learning her craft. When I went to college in September 1997, part of my financial aid package was a work study that made me one of the college's main Webmasters as a first-semester freshman. Here's the kicker, though: I was a pretty bad Web designer. At the time, the Web seemed to be making everyone who touched it rich, spurring an outright panic by anyone who saw the emerging medium as either an opportunity or a threat. Businesses had to get online to stay competitive, as did politicians and even nonprofits, it turns out. They might not have understood what a domain name was, they just knew I could get them one.

And I did, at least until the rest of the world caught up with me, better Web designers became more plentiful (and cheaper), and the Web began to create opportunities to use another skill that I actually both enjoy and excel at (or at least I hope some readers think so), I switched schools and majors from computer engineering to journalism and found that the Web would still provide, I landed a gig with an early iteration of at&t iphone cases xr MTV.com that took an earnest interest in America's local music scenes, I spent the next few years traveling the Midwest to interview artists, take in live shows, and write snarky reviews, I was still a student, I wasn't based in Silicon Valley or manning a startup, but I was still pursuing the dot-com dream for better or for worse, Sometimes it got a little out of hand..

After one particular show, my college girlfriend was a bit confused to find pop-punk darlings Good Charlotte in my living room along with a squad of local strippers providing a live demonstration of the latest technological advances in silicone. Those guys were straight edge, so there wasn't any cocaine involved that night, but there were plenty of other nights and other bands. I, being a good boy, never partook. No, really. Reckoning By early 2000, I had no interest in finishing my broadcast journalism degree and struck a deal to design my own degree in online media (again, this involved a work study maintaining part of the university Web site and teaching a Web design course to other undergrads -- can't beat cheap labor, I guess). I began working on a little graduate student's project called Ironminds.com that was actually making a name for itself as a leading online magazine, competing with the likes of Salon and Slate.

I drove down to Austin that March with the Ironminds crew for South by Southwest Interactive, where we had been nominated for Best Current Events Site, Remarkably, we actually won, beating out big media names like "The Daily Show." I was at&t iphone cases xr 20 years old and I was part of something that smart people actually approved of, something that actually seemed to matter, And for the first time, I felt as though I was among my own people, These people understood why I spent so many evenings glued to a monitor, trying to discern how the pieces all fit together, where it was going, where it could go..

At that year's SXSW Frog Design party, I pulled Ironminds founder Andy Wang aside. "Andy, I don't want to go home. I don't want to go to college. I don't want to go back to Missouri. I want all this," I told him. I'm pretty sure we were both a little drunk, but I was still dead serious. "Go talk to everyone," he told me. "Ask all of them for a job and then pick the best offer. You're a f*****g award winner now."How come I've never heard this from any of my guidance counselors, I thought to myself. How absolutely brilliant.

By the end of that week I had a handshake agreement to start working at Business 2.0 magazine's San Francisco Bay Area office within eight weeks, If you don't remember Business 2.0, you could be forgiven, It was one of many such new publications at the time that didn't survive in its original form (remember Red at&t iphone cases xr Herring or the Industry Standard? No? Well they were real once too.) Eventually it was swallowed by Time, Inc, and got lost somewhere in the fallout of the AOL Time Warner debacle before disappearing altogether around 2007..