Where Are They Now? Web 1.0 Pioneers in a Web 2.0 World




We hear about the Steve Jobses and Jerry Yangs who first led the charge in the brave new world of tech. Let’s not forget that they didn’t do it alone. What about the people who turned their backs on traditional industry in those nascent days and helped the pioneers build those companies – and whose companies might not be here today without them?

The pioneers behind the visionaries.

Arabella founders Jeffrey Yang and Celeste Dwyer met in 2001, while they were both working at HotJobs, an early New York-based Web 1.0 company that was bought by Yahoo! (speaking of Jerry Yang). The pair not only survived it all when the bubble burst: they also survived the transition of General Assembly from a co-working space to an educational institution, and followed fellow GA alums Jason Nadaf (SureDone) and the Ian Halpern and his RentShare crew to Cowork.rs. So this isn’t their first time working out of a coworking space – or working to build out the next level of tech in a web something-point-0.

Things have changed since those not so old days, says Dwyer, who moved to the US from South Africa, when she was 11, “we were young and hungry and didn’t think anything of working 30 days in a row, back then. It’s different now.”

Yeah, that never happens in the startup world anymore. Which only goes to show that the more things change…  Dwyer, Yang and Arabella project manager Alicia Tyree, whom the pair met and first worked with at Solvate, sat down with us to talk about the then and now, and their plans going forward. 

Tell us about your company.

Arabella (which we founded in 2011) is a boutique development shop that nurtures business ideas and turns them into innovative web applications. We’re not a long-term development solution. We help people and companies starting out get to market quickly.

How is it different?

Our difference lies in how we work with our clients. We call it discovery-driven development. It is a proprietary Agile process based on design thinking, lean development and Scrum that is used with our clients and our development team to foster transparency and accountability, decrease inefficiencies, and time to market.

Since you all were in the industry during Web 1.0, what are a few of the differences between the Web 1.0 days and Web 2.0?

The speed of development has increased a lot. We would not be able to do what we do without the improvement in tools and process.

There is a much larger community of companies in New York now than there were then, and the tech industry has grown to include many other cities.

The cost of development is also much lower as we don’t need as many engineers now as we did then in order to build software. It was also a lot harder then to hire people who would work for a startup. We used to have to fight the financial industry for talent.

When did you move into Cowork.rs and what brought you here, in particular?

We moved in April 2014. As a company building innovative web applications, we were drawn to the community of cutting edge startups found here at Cowork.rs.

Since this is not the first coworking space you’ve worked in, what are the pluses of working in a coworking space?

– Having access to a large community of companies.
– We can grow in stages.
– Reduce management overhead of running your own office space.

What are the milestones that you plan to achieve within six months?

We have plan in place to grow the team to 12 to 14 people. Out of that, at least four to five in New York. We also want to be able to run four parallel projects at any given time.

If you could be put in touch with one investor in the New York community who would it be and why?

Most of our clients are startups with early stage funding. Some have VC investment and some will be looking for it. I think the main reason we would want to be in touch with an investor is to keep up-to-date on the pulse of what types of businesses are succeeding and what makes them succeed so that we can use that knowledge to help our clients.

Where is your favorite place to go to escape on summer weekends?

Celeste would say we love Vermont.

About the author: AlleyVoice

AlleyVoice is a platform that allows startups and marketers looking to connect with the AlleyWatch audience to provide content of interest – and giving them the opportunity to actively participate in the conversation.

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