Gwen Bell · Blog

Eight Years Ago I was...

January 11th 2017

What was I doing eight years ago? So asks Everett.

Ok, it was the start of 2009. I was trying to run a relationship on Basecamp.*

An excerpt from the piece from 2009-01-02:

A Guide to Falling in Love + Growing a Modern Romance Online

Leveraging technology in relationship to create a fuller life offline

Joel and I met in person a year ago today.

Before that, we met on Twitter. A website that asks you to say what you’re doing. In 140 characters. We have learned how to say a lot in very few characters.

That’s how we met. People ask me all the time how they can meet someone on Twitter. That part’s easy. Be yourself. And learn to say something compelling in 140 characters by a) doing and b) emulating people who do it well.

The falling in, as everyone knows, is the easy part. It’s how we’ve grown the relationship that matters. These are some simple steps we’ve taken to grow, stabilize and have fun with our relationship online in order to make it a richer relationship offline during Human Interaction Time. Whether you’re in a relationship…or wanting one, here’s hoping they help you, too!

Basecamp: Relationship HQ

In many ways, Joel and I run our relationship like a business. That’s not to say it isn’t romantic. We just realize that having a central place to document our goals, plans, wines and restaurants we love and more is a good idea.

For us, it’s Basecamp. Basecamp ($24/mo.) is a tidy place online to keep track of who is doing what, when and with whom. There’s a calendar function and, very important for us, there’s a central place to track todos. Basecamp is a good way to assign responsibilities - to keep up with who is doing what and whether or not it has been done.

That's how I started 2009. In 2009 I had

  • plans to get married
  • done my first speaking engagement


  • was a brand new Nintendo brand ambassador
  • was about to go to LA for the magazine cover photoshoot

I was super geeky in 2009. Maybe geekier than I am now. Even though my tech skills were way below my current tech skill level. Somehow I was geekier.

In 2009 I was still vegetarian which means I was eating a lot of cupcakes each day.

I'd been to Mexico but hadn't yet lived here.

I didn't believe venture capitalism was good back then, either.

Oh, I still thought getting fired up was a good idea.

I practiced back then, but not for an actual hour the way I do now.

I was into dev but wasn't contributing code back then. I knew about Ruby on Rails but had zero interest in it beyond seeing if someone could build things for me. But now, I want to know how things work and then build them myself.

I hadn't been to Singapore in 2009. Now that I've been there, I would edit undo that trip. Not a fan.

I was all: social, social all the time in 2009. I'm still social, social but now I know the dangers/drawbacks of top-down tech. I understand how databases work because I work with databases. Instead of being used, I create systems where the word 'user' looks silly and is best reserved for that creepy character, Jarvis, in Tron: Legacy. (That movie is a current fave that wasn't even out yet in 2009!)

In 2009 I hadn't been to Mexico City, but I did live in a mountain town. But I lived in a mountain town that was a town, I mean, tiny. Too tiny for a personality as big as this one. Mexico City at 20 million or 25 million or who even knows how many millions? A better fit for a personality such as this.

By the end of 2009 Everett had heard about me but I still hadn't heard of him. In 2011 when he tried to meet up with me in San Francisco I blew him off. But then, once we finally did meet, the story hit a whole 'nother level. But that's another piece. Happy news, I no longer try to 'run' my relationship with Basecamp. Basecamp!? Why would you use Basecamp when you can use Git?

A Piece on Plank ➡

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