So here I am, one morning in early January driving across the state of Florida, just me, my favorite overpriced specialty coffee, and the open road. I’m in a big white company van, loaded with computer equipment, that has a perfect rhythm of squeaking metal. As I turn off I-95 onto state road 70 heading west, I see nothing but open boring road lying ahead of me….and when I say boring, if you’ve made this 3+ hour drive, then you can empathize with me. It doesn’t take long for my mind to start thinking in overdrive as it often does when I’m alone, especially driving or running. This is when the ideas start flowing. This will be the 6 hour round trip that gives birth to Portalbella.com.
At the time, I was working in the Information Technology industry and one of my many duties was maintaining our company’s intranet site. The company’s intranet home page is your basic layout which includes links to frequently used resources, RSS feeds, weather widgets, and even a Google search bar. I was thinking to myself how lost our users are when they can’t access this very important intranet page, it’s like, well, their Portal to our corporate world.
Now this is where the wheels really started turning! I asked myself, “What if”, I love “What if’s”, “What if, a person at home could have their very own intranet page, or lack of better words, their very own Portal to the World Wide Web?” After all, I saw first hand how important our company’s intranet page was and how efficient it made everyone’s life. If somehow I could create a website that would allow anyone from age 5 to age 105 easily create their own home page, that would allow them to add links to their favorite websites, upload an image as their background, integrate Google Search, and let them add widgets or RSS feeds, then I could make everyone’s life a little easier, fun, and even efficient!
I thought to myself, I'm going to do this! From that 6 hour road trip, Portalbella.com was born…but wait….as I was driving, I was thinking of a name for the site, which took me quite a while, and when I thought of Portalbella, the name just stuck and I couldn’t get it out of my head…but would the domain name be available ….nope!
Like every other domain name out there, someone bought it and parked it! I knew I had to have this domain name to make it all work, but I couldn’t spend $2000 or $3000 for it which I figured would be the asking price. I got the email back from the company selling the name, scrunching my face, I proceeded to open the email, and to my surprise I see a very reasonable price…whew, I thought…and after a little negotiation, which I’m not that clever at, I got it even cheaper!
Armed with the domain name, programming skills, and supply of energy drinks, I worked nights after work until 1am, 2am, and sometimes later building a site that I hope many of you will find fun, useful, and even let you be a little creative.
....and the ironic thing is, I don't even like mushrooms!!