In the 10 years I’ve been at thedatabank, we’ve always been located in the TractorWorks building in Minneapolis’ North Loop. In 2006 we were a smaller company on the third floor, still building up after surviving the dotcom bust. The building and the neighborhood were kind of dumpy. Compared to today, you might say our Databank application also looked a little dumpy!
Now the building is one of the coolest around, with art displays including a stairwell with commissioned graffiti art, and is home to one of the premier restaurants in town as well as some big name tenants. As if in lock step with the building, thedatabank has gotten cooler too, moving up to a larger space on the fifth floor, becoming a general benefit corporation, and growing to twice as many employees. The application is likewise more polished in its look, is easier to use, and has so many new and improved functions that it didn’t have 10 years ago. This in addition to many behind-the-scenes changes that have kept the software and database infrastructures up to date as technologies have changed.
On the geeky side of things, in June of 2006 MySpace was the most visited site in the United States. Facebook was still a few months away from opening up to the general public, jQuery was a couple months away from its initial release, and APIs were for desktop developers. Charts and graphs? Use Excel, baby! The first iPhones and netbooks were still a year away. Being on the web usually meant you were at a desktop computer, probably using Internet Explorer 6 on a 1024 x 768 CRT display – and there was still a pretty decent chance you were on dialup, at least at home. There was also a pretty good chance you were reading your email in plain text.
While the Databank CRM application is still largely designed for desktop browsers, today PowerMail and online forms need to consider responsive HTML designs that will work well on tablets and phones, and most clients consider Facebook and Twitter as essential communication channels. We use jQuery all over the place.
It’s been challenging and fun to be part of all this change.
Most of the people I was working with in the halcyon days of dialup, IE6, text email, and MySpace have moved on, but the feel of the place has remained the same. Chris and Mark have consciously created and nurtured a company that attracts people who are energetic, passionate, and socially conscientious – and fun to work with! I’m looking forward to the next 10 years!
Want to see more old-school Databank? Check out this tour through thedatabank’s website over the years – that 2000 website was a real looker. Scroll down the post to start seeing the sweet screen shots.
Also, stay tuned for stories from Bridget & Melissa, looking back on their 10 years at thedatabank.