Calexis

20 Years on the Internet

August 15, 2015

Back in mid-1995, Calexis started building websites.  Here we are, 20 years later and it is time for a retrospective.

Calexis.com started with a single photo of a stagecoach station out in the dusty west with the word Calexis written on the side of the building in an old time font.  We were amazed that a graphic could be seen outside our office.  The page also had our address, phone number and fax number (anyone remember faxes?).

We built our first client site for the Ault Dairies Ingredients division and our client Brad McKay.  It launched 20 years ago today.  We thank them for helping us get started.

Next came the site for ourselves, and to the best of our knowledge, we became the only advertising agency in Canada that was on the web.  That site has been changed fairly often over the years as styles and technology changed.

When Marketing magazine asked for our annual contact information update in 1995, we added http://www.calexis.com.  The resident geniuses at Marketing called to ask us what www.calexis.com was.  Then told us, that because the internet was for data only, like a telex line (anyone remember telexes?), they wouldn’t publish our URL as part of our profile.  They obviously had no idea what the internet was.

Nevertheless, within six months Marketing magazine, like every other print business magazines (anyone remember print magazines?), was publishing cover stories telling everyone how the internet was coming and that their particular magazine had the inside scoop.

Calexis’ next projects included building websites for the likes of Deloitte Touche Consulting, Advertising Standards Canada, the Canadian Professional Golf Tour (later including live time scoring), and many more.

Deloitte was interesting.  When we first pitched the idea to them they had no clue, but by the time we were in the background building their site for them, they were out consulting at $400 per hour enabling their clients on the internet.  We employed an animated gif on Deloitte’s site to the amazement of all.

We did have some miscalculations at these infant stages.  Too early we built a marketing survey site and created an email only site.  People were not ready for these until some years later.

We learned that technology is not as important as psychology when dealing with digital services.  We also had our shot at a full .com startup which was in mid development at the time of the crash at the end of the 90s.

Speeds have increased, graphics became more involving.  While video was impossible to deliver earlier on, it is now the norm.  The talk about “technology convergence” and the “information highway” fell into the past as public usage has defined where technology had to go.

While it seems a short time since the web began, it has now been a score of years, two decades.   The digital revolution is still in flight and we can expect more and more changes.  Now it is less about the technology and more what that technology will enable us to do.

The internet and digital age have meant more creativity has been required.  Unfortunately, the advertising industry has been overrun by technology.  Just being able to do something that looks like communication, does not mean that it does a good job.  Creativity in communication lost out and needs a stronger role in today’s digital age.

One pleasant discovery was that the originality of our company name, which seemed downright odd in 1991 when the company started. Its uniqueness came in handy in getting a worldwide URL in 1995.  In fact, the need for a simple URL has caused new companies to create new types of inventive corporate names over the past twenty years because now we are marketing to the world in all languages at once.

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