Three Years & Counting…

Happy Birthday to us — we are three years old!

It seems like only yesterday that I was sitting at the Starbucks near my old office with my friends Nitin Borwankar and Dave McClure, along with ace web designer Mike Rundle (via phone), plotting the design of a new GigaOM. I was making plans to leave the job I loved at Business 2.0 in order to turn my blog into a company. But while I wanted to launch this new company on Independence Day, July 4th, my plans leaked, and three years ago today, GigaOM went from being my blog to being my startup.

I had never founded a startup before, so I didn’t know what was in store for me. There was a lot of optimism, hope and excitement: I was and still am trying to figure out the future of media. And while the destination was (and still is) unknown, the promise I made to myself was that not only would I strive to build a company that would be my pride and joy, but I would be sure to enjoy myself along the way. And that is only possible if you surround yourself with a great team, made up not only of professionals, but of great people with great values. That principle has been the guiding force for our company. Since those early days, while much has changed, our ethos and vision remain the same.

We are a much bigger group. We are highly distributed. We have seen some friends leave and new friends join. We’ve survived some troubling times. Most importantly, we have grown both as a company and as a collective group — we have done it together, as a team. And I have learned the most important lesson that an entrepreneur can: Empower people, and in turn they will reward you with great things. So while letting go has been hard, it’s also been the best part of these past three years.

Back when I was in college, as a chemistry student, I came to appreciate the atom more than anything else in the world. Atoms, when bonded with other atoms, form molecules. Some of these bonds are magical and the molecules can, in turn, be magical things. Startups are essentially the same. Atoms are the individual people; the company is the molecule. And that’s what makes our journey into the future — some of it predictable and a little bit of it unknown — so enjoyable. Three years into the opportunity of a lifetime, I still have a spring in my step as I leave my apartment, for I can’t wait to be with each one of my team members.

But most importantly, I can’t wait to be with our community. This week, for the first time in a long time, I took a break from all the brouhaha of Silicon Valley to spend a couple of peaceful days in lovely Wyoming. The majestic beauty of the mountains, however, couldn’t stop me from thinking about you, our readers. There are many more of you today then there were three years ago. I don’t know all of you by name, but everything you say, I listen to, and every time you teach, I learn. And I know I speak for our entire team when I say — thank you, readers, for rewarding us with your time and attention.

As a business, we are executing our plan. GigaOM has grown to become a network of awesome blogs: WebWorkerDaily, NewTeeVee, OStatic, Earth2Tech, jkOnTheRun and TheAppleBlog. We now host four industry-leading events every year: Structure, NewTeeVeeLive, Mobilize and GreenNet. We recently launched a subscription-only research community, GigaOM Pro. We have syndication partnerships with The New York Times; CNNMoney and Fortune; BusinessWeek; and Salon. And we have some more new tricks up our sleeve, too.

As a long-time blogger, I have seen a lot of changes take place in the media marketplace — the emergence of Twitter, for example. Twitter is the ultimate expression of the continuous democratization of news. With it, both the distribution and discovery of content on the Internet have changed. But as I’ve written in the past, there is also a desperate need for context. It’s made me think and rethink the value of not just our blog but blogging in general. Over the past three years, we have evolved from a news-chasing entity into a technology insights company. From our blog posts to our research, we work hard (sometimes we stumble) to step away from providing commodity information to instead provide analysis and context to the relevant news of the day. The launch of GigaOM Pro is part of this evolution into an insights-based company. Over the next few months, you are going to see us make efforts to provide even deeper and at the same time, wider insights. So stay tuned.

Before I go, a big word of thanks to all the dear readers and friends who have encouraged us along on this breathtaking journey. I want to take a moment to thank my entire team for their hard work, dedication and love. To our investors — thanks, guys, for believing that a first-time entrepreneur can bring about change.

Now it’s time to get back to work.