Tonight friends, I’m going to ask you to raise a glass for me! Because a few hours ago, it’s been exactly 18 years since I launched Korben.info.
Since 1997, I was already writing on the Net, here and there, sharing all my discoveries, my analyses, my hacks. Then one fine day between May and June 2004 (the date is unclear), armed with just my nickname and a handful of readers (including you, perhaps), I reserved the domain name korben.tk.
The objective was simple: Archive and share in the form of a digital reminder, all my discoveries, my tips, my tools…etc.
The site, which was just a bunch of HTML pages in its early days, switched to a more official domain name (korben.info), but free at the time, a few years later. I was 22 years old, a lot of free time due to unemployment and not a penny in my pocket.
For years, I led a double life. Employee during the day, by massively feeding my site every day, writing before going to work, writing on returning from work and sometimes writing during working hours…
Then gradually, after the first 8 years of existence, I was able to find something to live modestly from my site. So I took the plunge, throwing myself full time on it.
It’s something I could never have imagined. At the time, I still didn’t believe that we could live thanks to a website. And yet, I had around me lots of friends-entrepreneurs who made a living from the web and I was totally in awe of their success. They are the ones who gradually gave me confidence and showed that it was possible.
So of course even if my site already existed before the massive arrival of blogs, and that from my point of view (still today), I was “webmaster”, I was stuck with many labels: blogger, influencer , content creator, and even… journalist. Lol.
I have never written on the site saying to myself: One day it will work and I will live from it« , or « One day I’ll be famous on the net“. No, I always wrote about it as a hobby, a pleasure, without thinking about the consequences, the success, the buzz…etc. I didn’t have a business plan, I never had one. It is a project that is always very personal and very artisanal.
There was of course a fairly prosperous period linked to the success of blogs and star bloggers and I found myself a bit involved in it without necessarily looking for this light. However, I willingly admit it, it was very pleasant: notoriety, recognition, invitations here and there… I traveled, I met great people, I took advantage of all these good times with a lot of gratitude without ever forgetting that all this was ephemeral.
As with everything, there was of course the other side of the coin… The toxic people who demoralized me, the harassment I suffered, the jealousy, the gossip… It was very weird, but I understood over the years that it was also very basic for humans to want to smear each other. It’s part of the wounds that never healed and on which I had to build myself. Dirty period when I really almost threw everything away, disgusted.
Then time passed and finally successful bloggers gave way to social media influencers, youtubers…etc. Phew, they finally let go of me.
So I continued my painstaking work, not always with the same regularity, because depending on the times there were also side projects, family life, health, and sometimes even a certain weariness.
I have of course sometimes wandered off, writing at times more to please you than for me. But I quickly realized that I was in the illusion and that I could achieve nothing if I “forced” myself. Of course, I lost some readers along the way… I know it… My interests have evolved. I’ve evolved. And the Korben of today is quite different from the Korben of 18 years ago. It’s like that. But I like to think that you grew up (no, not “aged”, come on) with me.
Last year, Korben.info almost disappeared. The audience was still there (between 3M and 4M readers per month), but I had too many expenses and a few cascading contract breaches left me with a month’s worth of cash. July 2021 was the scheduled end. Forced to return to paid employment? Change domain? I admit that this perspective did not appeal to me so I worked 4 times more (and this is not a way of speaking), I was very anxious, not sleeping at night because of worry.
Then I managed to refloat my boat, which was still a little fragile, but still functional. Obviously, it’s not just my job that allowed me to do this. I must also thank you: The anonymous readers who are always positive and encouraging, the patreons who don’t hesitate to put their hands in their wallets every month in support of the cause and of course all the advertising partners who have worked with me, sometimes for years and who trust me. Sincerely, thank you!
18 years later, what an adventure! A life of “unemployed” as my son told me one day who thinks that I spend my days hanging out in front of the computer. A life that was both very rich and very monastic.
In 18 years I have learned a lot of things. On technologies of course, but also on people, on the many disciplines required by my activity and of course on me, on my abilities and my limits.
Today I am 40 years old. I’m still hyper digitally active even if I do a lot less than before. Family life takes time for sure, but I also devote myself to other “pleasure” activities that all those who follow me on Instagram or Twitch know about: DIY, cooking, nature, development, music, etc. . Nothing crazy, but just enough to change the air and get your head out of the screens.
Today, I’m in a rhythm that may seem quite “cool” to you, but I stay in tight flow… I write on the site of course, which remains my priority, but I also shoot many videos for my Patreons supporters , I host a Twitch and YouTube channel whose subscribers are only increasing, and as if that were not enough, I decided this year to set fire to TikTok. A lot of work, but obviously if I do it, it’s because I like it. Besides, I don’t know how to “do anything”. It should be learned well.
All my “buddies” bloggers of the heyday have either sold, disappeared or turned into an armored media of journalists and freelancers.
I didn’t want to evolve like them. Out of laziness, but also out of conviction. I persisted in this solitary path of craftsmanship, still nostalgic for my beginnings on the Internet which marked me deeply.
And even if I often have the impression of being this last Dodo who looks everywhere around him wondering where the others have gone, I believe that deep down I made the right choice. And unlike him, I’m still here.
The most important thing to remember is that today, I still have as much fun writing on Korben.info and sharing with you as when I started. I should even say “that at our beginnings”, since you were there, always faithful to the post.
So I don’t know if I would go back for another 18, 28, 38 or 68 years, but I take advantage of every moment, because being able to live from your passion as I do, that’s what’s more valuable. A life of geeking, tweaking, experimenting, sharing, exchanging with you, that’s really all I could hope for. And again, I lack time to do everything I want.
Thank you again to all of you, the anonymous ones, the not anonymous ones, the supporters, the partners, the passing helping hands, the benevolent ones, the cyberbuddies that I meet too infrequently (snif), and of course the family and friends.
Thanks thanks thanks.
Happy 18 years to you, the site with the baby in sunglasses!