Twenty years ago today, the xmission.com domain went live on the Internet. Supported by a T1 connection to the University of Utah, a Sun Sparc Classic, and five 14.4Kbps modems, XMission was the first commercial Internet access available to the public in Utah. One small server handled email, domain name service, and Usenet news for everyone who subscribed.
When I started XMission, my “visionary” plan for Internet access was to provide dial-up access for people like me, computer enthusiasts, university students, and people who needed to access Gopher and other online databases. The system sat in a small wiring closet in a friend’s clothing consignment store on 700 East in Salt Lake City. Looking forward from 1993, I never envisioned the ubiquitous utility that the Internet has become. If I had any foresight at all, I would have registered every word in the dictionary as a domain name and retired early, but that isn’t a very interesting story.
XMission’s motto is, “The service I would want to use.” It has guided decisions on pricing, support, services, and privacy since the beginning. Before I had paid off my father’s loan I used to start and sustain initial operations, I made donated accounts for non-profits part of the pricing structure. This was later expanded to support candidates for office, regardless of party or platform. XMission has non-profits across the political spectrum, and has expanded democracy on the Internet by supporting the political speech of legislators, mayors, governors, and even one guy who decided to run for U.S. Senate. I am very proud of XMission’s support of the community and I encourage other businesses to do the same, not when it is convenient, but from the start.
There is no way I could have done this alone. From the moment I hired my first employee in 1995, to the hundreds of employees that have worked here at one time, to the long-term employees who have made XMission their career, even though there were probably more lucrative opportunities elsewhere, I am humbled by those who believe in my business philosophy enough to want to evangelize and expand it. I give my sincere thanks to everyone employed at XMission past and present for believing in this business and in me. Special thanks to my father who believed in me enough to finance XMission’s start. Thank you also to my brother who collateralized his house in 1995 so we could buy a pile of modems and more servers to handle the explosive growth we experienced in the early days.
Most of all, thank you to our customers, supporters, and advocates. XMission’s number one form of advertising is word of mouth, and I have all of you to thank for that. I hope that XMission continues to meet your expectations now and in the future. I and the rest of the XMission team will continue to listen to your ideas and suggestions so we can innovate the service you want to use, for many decades to come.