A Look Back At The Past 

25 June 2013  
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In a slightly nostalgic mood here so we’re going to take a look back at Brightspark. It’s been a decade that I’ve been writing this blog which I defined back in 2003 as ‘about the up’s and down’s of running an internet business in Dublin.’  Gosh, when I started it, I had to do a lot of explaining to people about what a blog is, and why blogging is a better option than publishing white paper reports…!

Here’s what Brightspark Blog looked like about 10 years ago!

look back brightspark

What Was I Writing About?

2003 was a lot about networking during the week, working weekends, and rants about poor customer service from ISP’s, hosting companies, mobile companies, and pretty much every company I had to deal with.    I’ve been told by a few people that I’ve really mellowed over the years.  Is that me? Or is that customer service from utility companies in this country has improved?

Big learning for those setting up in business – relax!  You’re going to get things set up for you, but just not on your terms.  Big utilities in this country operate to their own timeframes.  Accept that. Get out in the sun. And don’t stress about it!

2003 Was All A Series Of Firsts:

  • My first client website: Irish Honeymoon Registry – get people to contribute to the cost of your honeymoon as wedding gifts… although the design has changed, I’m pleased to say that the words are still mine, 10 years on.  
  • My first BNI networking meeting – “What a good concept – to have 39 excellent networkers and smart business people out marketing your business on your behalf!”  I joined BNI and was very active marketing my business there for about 18 months.  I still say that when I meet people who are in BNI or Plato or other business groups, you know they are serious about their business.  I eventually left BNI not just because my business had grown and I didn’t need to court small referrals every Tuesday morning, but because I learned a valuable lesson that whenever people get together, there is always politics.  One of the joys for me of being self employed is still the lack of having to deal with politics.
  • On the joys of being self employed… I wrote a lot about the importance of fresh coffee and flowers, and not having to wear a ‘uniform’.  Still loving that particular positive about being self employed.

look back brightspark

Skip Ahead To 2005:

look back brightspark

I was still giving out about things!  In June 2005, I was moaning about the lost productivity in Ireland due to ‘silly season’ and long Christmas holidays!  I was giving out about the Dublin City Council website and how difficult it was to use (still kinda looks the same, although user experience has been thought about).  I was noticing apple images everywhere (replacing the previous turn of the century eyes…), and was delighted with myself because I was in business 2 whole years!

A first mention of Krishna De around 2006.  I remember meeting Ms De at a women’s networking event, and was mighty impressed.  Social media was just in its infancy, Krishna had just started to podcast!

Screen Shot 2013-06-25 at 12.39.37

More giving out – this time about CRO and their woeful website (I later enjoyed considerable success due to the CRO taking a stance on my other business name – Simple Assembly Me Hole.  The press loved it! I got heaps of free publicity).  A life coach robbing content I’d written for another life coach.  The thing is that the thieving one was also located in Dublin!

I think, in hindsight, I felt a lot of frustration that many of the big companies hadn’t gotten with the web thing as early as me and my clients had.

I expected to be able to transact and deal with them online.  But back then, you’d send a contact us message and never get a reply.  Now you can hop on Twitter, get public and get yourself sorted! I ended 2007 with a post on why 2007 was all about Twitter.

Thank God For Twitter!

Other posts that bring a smile to my face include the forgotten memory that the Golden Spider Awards were ordered by the Data Protection Commissioner to pay Brightspark €500 for spamming, and the news that Entertainment.ie have added video!!  “Because we’re all too busy to read and video is where it’s at!”

look back brightspark

Incidentally that was post #100.

A Look Back On The Blog Post Milestones:

#200: A post about the blog awards.  Lots in 2008 about awards because I was entering and winning at that time! Ah I miss the old Blog Awards.  That’s where I met people like Sabrina Dent for the first time.  And young @darraghdoyle who was just starting his blog “this is what I do”! and is still sporting the same Twitter avatar!

#300: A post in January 2009 about being on the Alex Gibson show on Dublin City FM.   Delighted to see he’s still going strong!

#400: I was driving and blogging about the Toyota iQ.  Was loving the car, but not the horn which sounded like David Beckham. The idea of giving some bloggers the car to drive for 6 months was a good one; in fact, Ford is doing the same thing now.  The problem with the iQ was that it wasn’t executed very well.  There was a Twitter feed set up, but it wasn’t manned.  Fairly typical of a lot of organisations at the time – including Bord Gais who had just spent a fortune advertising The Big Switch… they forgot to switch on their Twitter at the time the laptops went missing…But other utilities were still getting slagged.

beep look back


500 And Above

#500: my love of flashmobs knows no bounds!  Loving the T-mobile one which first appeared in November 2010.

#600: All about LinkedIn endorsements in January of this year!  I like the endorsements feature.  It’s a nice way of hearing from people you haven’t been in touch with in a long time.  It’s a little “ping” of nice energy you can give or receive.  I think LinkedIn has seriously improved from a content marketing point of view in the last wee while.  Traditionally the preserve of salespeople and recruiters, I find it draws me in more often lately and I am finding good content on there.

So What Will The Next Decade Be Like?

What kind of platforms will emerge that will seriously disrupt the status quo? 10 years ago, I was a one-woman show with a blog. Today I am a one-women show with a blog!  There’s one thing for certain and that is that this blog will continue as long as I do.

So here’s to everyone who has been great and lovely and supportive in this last 10 years.  To the clients who have trusted me and taken a punt on the vision I have set forward for them.  To the big semi-state one who gave me a contract that enabled me to learn loads about social media – at scale, and in an international context.  To my co-workers who are the absolute best!  To my peers who I really got to know when Twitter came along.  Yiz are all great!  I love working in Dublin.  I’m proud of our city – especially the way it’s emerging as the main technology centre in Europe.  Here’s to all of us – the survivors.  We have made it through this recession.  And that is why we need to start using our minds in a post-recessionary way.

If you’re interested in finding out more about Brightspark, get in touch! We’re happy to help.

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  1. Congrats. Maryrose..great post lovely to look back on. I have been following(stalking) you since the WordPress weekend camp in Kilkenny ( which was brill) and loved your energy, passion and enthusiasm for marketing business.

    Here’s to the next 10 years and making this Dublin city of ours even better. Wonder what it will bring. Best of luck with everything. Pauline

  2. Thanks Pauline! See you tomorrow at DigiWomen. Lots to catch up on.

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