12 years ago today I launched Driven By Boredom into the world wide internets. I was in my second and last year at the Penn State University. I hated it. I had a girlfriend who lived 6 hours away, I was a punk rock kid in a town with no punk scene and I was a straight edge kid at a frat filled party school. The year before I had started a party photo website that ended up being so successful that I had become a minor celebrity on campus which I hated. Being stopped by frat dudes at 8am on the way to class was a nightmare. I quit the blog and spent most of my time in my dorm room playing on the internet.
I was so bored at school. I barely did any school work and as I mentioned I didn’t have much of a social life. In high school I ran a record label, a magazine, played sports and got in trouble with my insane friends. I was constantly busy so being bored was something I wasn’t that used to. I hated it so I started coming up with projects to kill time. I was making stupid videos and I was selling weird fake shit on eBay and I was making horrible music on my computer. I was always taking photos but emailing them to my friends was getting to be a pain. I needed a place for all these projects and a site to host my photography. My brother had a website and he had found a little community of webmasters who ran what they called “E/N” sites. E/N stood for Everything/Nothing. They were the first blog sites and I decided to create my own.
I decided on Driven By Boredom because it was quickly becoming my motto. I always needed something to fill my free time so I wouldn’t be bored. Everything from starting a record label to selling trash on eBay was all driven by a fear of being bored. For a while I had an idea of getting a tattoo that read Driven By Boredom and it eventually became not only a tattoo but an early logo for my website.
The site got very popular very quickly. It was a mix of a few projects that went viral and convincing fans of my site to send me photos of their boobs with BORED written on them. Tits = hits was an early motto of the internet and even back then my site was known for the nudity, even if I wasn’t even taking the photos. By 2002 I was getting thousands of visitors a day which in those days would have been like hundreds of thousands. The site now gets more that twice the traffic that the old site ever got, but I don’t get a 10th of the fan/hate mail that I did back then. It was a really amazing experience.
Unfortunately I made a huge mistake of letting a friend of a friend host my website. He disappeared from the internet one day and my site was down for almost two months while I had to rebuild the site almost from scratch. I had to get a new design and although I managed to recover most of my content that was backed up on my hard drive I lost a lot of stuff and a LOT of traffic. My site never really recovered. I kept blogging but it wasn’t as much fun and I was just constantly angry about it. I started blogging less and less and in 2004 I started managing a band called The Gaskets. I put so much effort into the Gaskets that by 2005 the site was pretty much just an advertisement for them and I only updated like once every three months.
I tried to revive Driven By Boredom once using Blogspot, but I gave up on that quickly. In September of 2006 I moved to New York and started going to a lot of dance parties. I bring a camera with me everywhere I go and so I started taking photos at these parties. Last Nights Party and the Cobrasnake had just blown up and everyone was asking me what website I posted my party photos on. I had met Cobrasnake years earlier back when he was doing Polaroid Scene and I didn’t really get it, despite running a successful party photo site in 2000, but by the time I moved to NYC it was pretty oblivious how popular party photography was.
I decided to bring Driven By Boredom back from the dead and started posting terrible photos on it because I was just fucking around. I think that was probably a mistake because by the time I started making a little bit of money and taking party photography seriously I think I had a reputation as a shitty photographer. I remember people being shocked when they would see my (good) photos after not seing my site for a while. I was a pretty good photographer back in 2006/07 but I just didn’t care about party photos. Even though I take it seriously now, as it pays my rent, I still think party photos are bullshit and it slowly eats at me, but that’s a story for another time.
So yeah, I started bringing my real camera into clubs and then I started bringing my flash into clubs and I started hustling. My internet skills plus my old fan base plus naked girls plus me covering all of NYC south of 14th St with stickers added up to Driven By Boredom getting very well known, very quickly. A year after I moved to NYC I quit my job and started running the site full time. After 8 months I ran out of money and had to get a job again, but in December of 2008 I was laid off from that job after the economy tanked. I happened to book two big gigs in January of 2009 and I never looked back. It’s been more than 4 years of doing this site for a living and DBB has come a long way since 2001.
DBB 4.0 is on it’s way and when the new site drops there are going to be a lot of changes. Personally I can’t wait but I don’t have much of a choice since the two people building my site have full time jobs and I am paying them about a 1/100th of their normal rate. But by the DBB 13th anniversary things should be a lot different around here. I just hope the next 12 years are as fun as the last 12 years. See you guys in 2025.