Happy Birthday, timeanddate.com!
On May 24, 1998, timeanddate.com first went live. That was 25 years ago. Come to think of it, that’s a darn long time—especially in our line of business.
We Know What He Did That Summer
If you’re a die-hard timeanddate fan, you probably already know what a young Norwegian computer science student by the name of Steffen Thorsen did in 1998.
It was during those frantic days toward the end of the semester when the exams start to loom, and you better get your head down and revise, that Steffen took out some precious time to press some Publish buttons—and, hey presto, timeanddate.com was born.
Before we continue recounting all the juicy details of our official corporate creation myth, we thought we’d embellish it by sprinkling in some of our 1998 stories and pictures.
After all, timeanddate has not only grown in traffic and clout over the past quarter century, but we have also evolved from a one-man show to a company employing more than 30 people from 11 countries.
And it’s those personal home truths about long-past dreams, fads, and tech marvels that make the nineties feel nearly pre-historic.
(By the way, if you want to see how we look today, help yourself to a peek at our team page!)
Geremy, Australia, Design Team Lead
A Pretty Good Investment
But back to Steffen. He had spent the preceding months coding the great-great-grandmother of timeanddate on his Linux-driven Pentium Pro computer at home.
Now, he was eager to get it out—exams be damned!—as the summer would bring an end to his studies and, therefore, his access to the university’s IT infrastructure, with its record-shattering 10 Mbps internet connection.
“It was a bit of self-inflicted pressure,” he remembers, “but it turned out to be a pretty good investment.”
Coby, the Netherlands, Chief Operating Officer (COO)
All the Way from the Stone Age
As we turn 25, we take pride in the simple fact that we’ve come this far. Not many internet companies have made it from the 1990s all the way to 2023!
As Steffen sat at that clunky computer and uploaded the site, the world looked very different than today:
There were no smartphones; Wikipedia was 3 years away, Facebook 6 years, Twitter 8 years.
Even Google hadn’t been released yet (yes, we’re older than Google!), and people asked Jeeves to find stuff on the World Wide Web (don’t know who Jeeves is? Google it!).
Steffen himself recalls connecting to the web via dial-up modem (remember that sound?) and saving his work on zip drives before advancing to burning CD-ROMs.
Alternative birthdays: when are you 1 billion seconds old?
Adrianna, Poland, Designer
We Still Had Pluto
Today, astronomy and space are among our most popular topics, and we travel the world to broadcast live images of eclipses to an audience of many millions.
When timeanddate.com was first published, even space looked different: the Space Shuttle and the Russian space station Mir were still orbiting Earth.
The first module of the International Space Station (ISS) was just about to be launched from Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.
And last but not least, Pluto was still a planet. (A recent poll among timeanddate employees shows that 100% of us want Pluto to be a planet again.)
Konstantin, Germany, Editorial Team Lead
On the day when timeanddate.com was first uploaded to the web, it got 24 clicks (but some of them were from Steffen himself).
Today, we’re a bit disappointed when the daily number doesn’t reach a double-digit million figure.
“I didn’t actually intend to make any money with this in 1998,” says Steffen. “It was just a hobby, my passion project.”
Michelle, Norway, Finance & Administration
Here’s to New Adventures!
So, here we are, a quarter century later.
That’s precisely 788,918,400 seconds, by the way.
And the clock just keeps on ticking.
Happy birthday, timeanddate!