Breaking the Silence

Earlier this afternoon, I officially sold my stake in Nobis, letting go of my creation that’s more or less dominated my life for the past six years (and is why I’ve been missing in action for the past few months).  The reasons and events that led up to this are complex on a level that I don’t think that I want to put too much out here (for risk of being misinterpreted) but I will leave this with these final words.

I’m grateful for all of the passion of their own that our staff put into building this thing that started as nothing more than some scribbling on a notepad.  Ubiquity has grown to scales that I never would have been capable of achieving alone.   We were incredibly fortunate to have had those first handfuls of hosting customers that stayed fanatics about what we were doing, still now, with thousands of others also worth thanking.  In just a few years, these experiences have taught me an incredible amount about myself, choosing friends, and the different effects that money and power have on people.  It’s also shown me what we are capable of building if we’re constantly optimistic and doing.

Nothing in my life has been more difficult that the events of the past year and a half, but looking ahead, there’s no doubt that I’m personally in a better place today than I was yesterday, and given the right efforts, I’m confident the next day will be better still, and so on.  I never really expected to run Ubiquity forever, nor did I ever believe that this would be the greatest thing in my life that I create.  It won’t be.   But those ideas will be blog posts for another day.

The Sundial

A subtle but important change happened to the one of our websites this past week that I’ve been getting asked about a lot. The most plain, but arguably, most important website we own finally had its brand image made, only a year late. nobisThe design itself is another credit to Gary‘s awesome work, the design itself tied in a mass of concepts I’d wanted to see the Nobis personality to convey… and a little bit by my fascination with ancient technology.

A lot of people have said- why not just make one of the more powerful companies like Ubiquity or DarkStar the parent? That’s definitely the way a lot of people do things, and would more importantly of been a lot less work. The problem comes in where the markets that Nobis caters to are just too way spread out. Targeting both a Fortune 500 and a kid that spends too much time playing World of Warcraft just doesn’t work in our eyes. But that didn’t mean there weren’t things we needed our base to show. The idea of the obscured sundial (and yes if you are one of the 1 in 5 that doesn’t see it, or one of the 1 in 10 I’ve talked to that somehow doesn’t even know what a sundial is or would look like, that’s what it is) has been just about my favorite icon long before this, and ties in a lot of ideas, but more important than this and any aesthetic appeal, is that it stays open to a lot of positive/relevant interpretation, as a good brand should.

Nobis in 2007

January 1st, 2007 – the first day of business operating as the Nobis Technology Group. DarkStar’s office in Dayton, Ohio had already long been packed up and brought to Bloomington, Illinois to join Ubiquity before anyone knew anything of what had happened. With a series of adjoined classrooms in what was once where my grandma went to high school, we found the ultimate plot for expanding all of Nobis’ fantastic ideas as our new corporate office. Right near our friends from Cybernautic Design (hey Chad- there’s your link), our expansion could now be met by simply opening the door to the next room (not to mention the price was right). Now unless you work for us.. here’s something you probably haven’t seen…

Hey, everyone needs to start somewhere.

pre-nobis 2007

pre-nobis 2007

Not much huh? Fresh paint, re-sanded floors.. we put up drywall to create our own rooms within the various classrooms. With just the effort of most of our off-site staff (people not working at the data centers), we took the former school library / office, turned ballet / tai kwon do school, into a real 24/7-staffed network operations center.

By Late Spring

Big Room

Customer service center, from behind the Ubiquity side of the office.

From inside the conference lounge

From the “Conference Lounge”

Server Lab / Old Office

The deployment lab, where hundreds of our servers were prepared for stocking at various facilities

Things kept on exponentially, and with DarkStar and a wide assortment of other old Ubiquity customers long online at the 3 new data centers in Seattle, Los Angeles, and New York, the announcement was finally made that all Ubiquity service offerings were available. It didn’t take long at all for some major clients to see the tactical advantages of consolidating with Ubiquity Server Solutions for all of their company infrastructure. With available classrooms running short and our 1st and 2nd shift staff starting to get a bit overcrowded, it was time to move up once more.

Graduating to a Big Company’s Office

Most hosting companies would never show you their tangible existence, be they 1-2 man shows (as 99% of them are) or corporate monstrosities. I can remember years ago when our support line rang to Clint’s cell, my cell, and to a few volunteers cells at all hours of the night. That in mind, we definitely weren’t ashamed of the old 24/7 NOC, but by August it had simply been outgrown. Everything was moved to our new offices a few blocks away at double the size (excuse the boring empty white walls- we’re working on that).

Nobis customer service center

The new 24/7 customer service center.

Stanley and Wendy

Office Drama.

Clint and Stan

Law firm ad pose.

If you want more, we’ve got a copy of Gallery2 running now on I have to thank to all of our awesome staff that have together made all of the great things we’ve done in 2007 happen. 2008 looks to be interesting, and I’ll hope to have a much nicer behind the scenes to add to this timeline next year.

One Final Re-Invention

Since the formation of Nobis now almost a year ago, we set forth a plan to reinvent each of our brands, one at a time. With newnew darkstar site Ubiquity servers and hosting brand websites long up, the past few months of Nobis marketing were largely devoted to re-creating the world’s largest Ventrilo and Teamspeak hosting provider (which I have to say, the new DarkStar is more than a little bit better – nice work to Gary, Brett, and Gazzerro for putting up with my complaints through the development).

Now, even as one of the owners of Nobis- my role with DarkStar has still been extremely limited – I’ve never logged into a Ventrilo server, I’ve never played World of Warcraft, or understand half of the things that go on with our DarkStar staff – but what I do know, is that when a website with 10’s of thousands of already active customers finally decides to start reselling all Ubiquity services, it does effect my main job (Ubiquity) and my immediate staff just a little.

My Solution?

I’m going to Florida and the Carribbean for a few weeks. ( :

My Advice to the Ubiquity Team

I’ve sent you all some long emails, so have fun. I may blog once or twice while I’m down there since this might qualify as ‘not work’ by technicality, but no promises.