This got us reflecting here in the Olamalu offices at what had changed in those 20 years since Harry came in to all of our lives.
According to Statista, back in 1997 only 20% of UK households were mobile phone owners. With limited functionality, they played a very small role in the lives of those who owned them. Phones, after all, were for making phone calls back then.
In 1997 the internet had 70 million global users, this equated to 1.7% of the world’s population. Today the figure is 3.7 billion - that’s a whopping 49.6% of the world’s population.
Our lives 20 years ago were still very ‘manual’. We went to shops to buy things – we didn’t purchase on the web. We booked holidays through high street travel agents, and we did all of our banking in person and relied on paper statements through the post to keep us up to date on our transactions.
The Post Office was a one-stop shop for lots of things we now take care of in minutes online. We queued for car tax, we queued for foreign currency, we even queued for insurances of all kinds.
We still received the Phone Book through the door and the Yellow Pages, and phone boxes still had a big role to play in society with one around most street corners.
We met our other halves through friends, or in the pub or at a disco. Online dating sites would have made us laugh hysterically back then!
For us, Olamalu wasn’t even a twinkle in our eyes. We were working in the big corporate giant that is GE. Working hard, learning our trade and fuelling our passion for business and technology.
Fast forward to today, 20 years on. The web is has fundamentally changed the way we live, work and even communicate to our nearest and dearest. We can shop from the sofa, do our banking from the bus, even browse for our future partners whilst drinking a latte! Travel agents are nearly obsolete and the younger generation – those who today are enjoying the fruits of J K Rowling for themselves - have never seen The Phone Book or a phone box (unless it’s blue and contains ‘The Doctor’!).
Life has changed for all of us. We graduated from GE and set up Olamalu 8 years ago. We are now an established web technology company run by experts. The passion for technology that was ignited in us over 20 years ago still burns stronger than ever.
Happy Birthday Harry. Here’s to the next great 20 years for all of us.