Some time tonight, this site will receive its 100 millionth visit since October 2008. It seems like an opportune moment for reflection.
We have told this story many times, but here it goes again: by 2002, Scott and I had been writing newspaper op-eds, magazine articles and research papers together for a decade. The internet came along, and I thought it would be a great medium for us–no editors, no 750-word limit, instant communication, something we could fit into the interstices of a busy day. I set up the original site on Blogger over Memorial Day weekend of 2002. It was easy, with one exception; I couldn’t think of a name for the site.
As I was trying to come up with something my oldest daughter, then 13, came into the room with one of her good friends and asked what I was doing. I explained that I was setting up a web site; they asked what sort of a site; I said that it would do political commentary, but I couldn’t think of a name for it. My daughter’s friend thought for a moment and said, “Why don’t you call it Power Line?” Not bad, I thought. (Time flies; that girl is now a lovely young woman who competed a few weekends ago in the Miss Minnesota contest.)
The next day I called Scott and told him what I had done. He said he would check out the site overnight and let me know whether he wanted to participate. The following day he called and said–I swear this is verbatim–“It looks like fun, and I think it will be worth doing even if no one ever reads the stuff I write except you. But I have to tell you, I think the idea that we could ever have any readers for this thing is a pathetic fantasy.”
A couple of months later we asked Paul, my college roommate, to join us. I can still remember the first day we had 100 visits; it seemed like a real milestone.
Over the years we have had a variety of traffic counters and we haven’t done a good job of record-keeping, so we don’t know what the total number of visits since 2002 has been, but it is obviously several hundred million. Whether we will ever get to a billion remains to be seen, and we may never know for sure.
We are constantly humbled by the fact that so many people find it worth a few minutes of their time to read what we have to say. So, to all of our readers, a heartfelt thank you. And never forget that every once in a while, pathetic fantasies can come true.
PAUL adds: Actually, although John may not remember this, he emailed me on Memorial Day weekend 2002 to tell me he was starting a blog and to ask if I was interested in participating. I had no idea what John was talking (I was so limited on the computer in those days that it’s a wonder I happened to see his email).
My plan was to figure out what John was talking about and get back to him. But I never did.
Fortunately, John sent another email in July, I believe. By that time the blog was up and running and I knew enough to click on the link he sent. Once I saw Power Line, I knew I wanted to contribute.
I’m grateful to John for starting Power Line and for sending me that second email. Otherwise, I can imagine myself reading about the blog in Time Magazine at some doctor’s office in early 2005 and thinking, “oh, so that’s what John was talking about.”